Maybe your gap in employment wasn’t as bad as this fellow’s (I don’t think there’s much I can do for him)—but it’s an issue I very often encounter with my clients.
It may be an extended period of unemployment, a return to work from family leave, or a move from current employment back to an earlier career. Whatever the reason, well-constructed resumes can help to address gaps effectively.
Try these tips
Here are some quick tips from career experts, which I have used myself:
- Create what’s called a “hybrid” résumé, which includes both your skills and your job history. Start out with the transferable skills you can offer a employer and examples of your most notable and relevant accomplishments, rather than with your chronological job history.
- Use terms that are most relevant to the jobs you are applying for, not so much those of your past positions.
- Describe volunteer or temp work, special projects, training courses, memberships or self-improvement during your “gap” period. This will reassure employers that you remained actively involved with professional pursuits during that time.
- Format your resume to place more emphasis on your job titles and accomplishments than on date ranges. Consider abbreviating or deleting irrelevant experience, especially if it goes back many years.
- In your cover letter, explain the gap in positive terms and to reinforce what you can contribute to the success of the prospective employer. Demonstrate what a great fit you would be for the organization.
Are you wondering if you should use what is called a “functional” résumé instead? These types of resumes only focus on your skills and accomplishments and do not list your jobs chronologically at all. I don’t advise using them, as recruiters (which I once was myself) just don’t like them and feel you may have something to hide by using one.
Professional career counselors and resume writers will listen and help you to best market your strong points … so you can keep on truckin’.
© 2016 Fran Fahey, Fran’s Fine Editing