Searching for a new job can be stressful even in the best circumstances, but if you have an employment gap on your resume you may be worried that this will put you at a disadvantage. While resume gaps are not uncommon, people believe that there is a stigma associated with them that will make it harder for them to find a job in the future.
However, a gap on your resume does not have to spell disaster as long as you take the right steps to highlight your experience positively. To help give you the best chance of landing your dream job, here are a few tips for job hunting with a gap in your resume.
Take Time to Polish Your Resume
If you are searching for a new job but you have gaps in your resume, you should take some time to polish your resume and make sure that it works in your favor. If you have multiple gaps in your resume, the typical chronological resume format may not work well for you. Instead, consider adopting a hybrid resume format where you start your resume by listing a summary of your qualifications and key competencies that highlights your experience for the position you are applying for. You can then follow this will a list of your work experience.
If you went through a period where you were job hopping, it may be to your advantage to delete certain jobs from your resume. As a general rule, it is okay to omit positions from your resume that lasted less than three months, as this will help streamline your resume. In fact, it is not uncommon for people to only include the most recent and relevant job experiences so that their resume does not become unnecessarily long. Having a polished resume that highlights your experience can help you stand out to recruiters even if you have gaps in your employment history.
Prepare to Explain Your Resume Gaps
Of course, if it is obvious to recruiters that there are significant gaps in your resume, they may bring it up in an interview. You should be prepared to answer these questions as honestly as possible. You don’t want it to look like you are hiding anything, as this could do more damage in the long run. The fact is that employers are more understanding than ever about resume gaps, particularly since many people were laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can also frame gaps in your resume in a positive light by highlighting things you did during that time such as taking care of a loved one, educating your kids, or taking training courses to further your career.
Continue to Build Skills Between Jobs
If you are currently between jobs, the best way to deal with your current gap in employment is to do things to fill the gap in your resume. While you can’t do anything about past gaps in your resume, you can use the time you have now to gain experience that you can highlight on your resume. For instance, volunteering, freelancing, or earning a certificate online are all things that you can do to show that you were productive between jobs and continued to take steps to further your career. Use this time to your advantage.
Try to Maintain a Positive Outlook
If you are looking for a new job but you have gaps in your resume, the most important thing that you should do is try to remain positive. The fact is that most resume gaps aren’t deal breakers for employers, and being in the right mindset can help you frame gaps in a positive light when you start interviewing for jobs. Additionally, if you are currently unemployed, you can use the time you have between jobs to gain new skills and experience that will actually help you stand out to employers.
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