One of the things that job seekers dread the most during a job search is a gap in their employment history.
While such a gap can seem like an insurmountable obstacle, one you might feel compelled to hide or avoid during a face-to-face interview, that doesn’t have to be the case.
In fact, running from a gap in your employment history is one of the worst things you can do. Instead, proactively addressing it during your job search will actually make you more marketable and in a better position to land your next job.
With that in mind, below are four proactive ways to address a gap in your employment history:
1. Change your resume from a chronological format to a functional format. You’re not doing this to “hide” your gap, but instead to emphasize what you’ve done during your employment history, as opposed to when you did it. The bottom line is that companies ultimately hire people for what they can do for them first. When they did it for somebody else is a secondary consideration.
2. Bring it up first in conversation. This might seem counter-intuitive, but when you mention your employment gap first, whether it’s during a phone interview or a face-to-face interview, it allows you to guide the course of the conversation and present your situation in the proper context. Bringing it up first will also help you make a good impression on those conducting the interview.
3. Highlight training and other skills upgrades. You should definitely emphasize anything you’ve done to increase your knowledge and skills, including training and certifications. Provide the specifics of the training and what it will mean for the company that hires you.
4. Mention volunteer work. This is more important than you might think, so resist the urge to not mention it at all because you think a potential employer wouldn’t care about it. The fact of the matter is that the work you’ve done in this area could help illustrate the value you could bring, and quite possibly it could illustrate it in ways you hadn’t envisioned.
Keep in mind that there are still going to be some companies that will pass over you simply because of your gap in employment. That’s unavoidable.
The key is to not get discouraged and to continue promoting yourself in an effort to show your value to a potential employer.
Time Staffing Inc.