Career gaps are more common than you thought. In fact, studies show that in recent years, more professionals tend to have career gaps in their resume for various reasons. However, rest assured that career gaps need not reflect badly on your career plans or keep you from your growth path. It is how you present the career gaps and address the questions pertaining to the break that decide the appeal of your resume.
If you are someone with a gap in your career, here are a few tips that will help you present it better in your resume.
Types of Career Gaps
Depending on your circumstances, you might find yourself in either of these two types of situations with a career gap. In each of these two cases, it is important to provide proper and adequate explanations.
- You have been unemployed in the past but you are currently employed:
In this case, you are presently employed for a year or more but have been unemployed in the past. When you decide to look for better opportunities in this kind of situation, try to emphasize your current role. You can briefly mention your career without drawing too much attention to it. Instead highlight the tasks, responsibilities, achievements of your current role while also talking about your career aspirations. Professionals in this kind of situation need not worry much about the career gap as recruiters will be more interested in your current stint and how your experience so far can benefit them.
- You Have a Career Gap Right Now:
If you are currently unemployed and it has been more than a year then you need to shift your focus to what you have been doing instead. Include all kinds of experience where you have been assisting in your domain-specific projects (even if it’s voluntary work). Sometimes tenured professionals do consulting work during their unemployed phase and yet don’t include that in their resume. Whether it is any of kind work or studies, it is important to include that in your resume to imply that you have done something with your time rather than nothing.
Designing the Perfect Resume
Remember your resume is a brief overview of your career trajectory, so be smart about what you include in it. If you have held a number of positions over a period of time, you can omit the details of the timeline. In fact, it is perfectly acceptable to have years mentioned in your resume instead of months. This makes your CV crisper and doesn’t highlight the gaps.
Similarly, It is a good idea to choose another piece of application document other than the CV or resume to talk about the career gap. A cover letter, for example, offers you the perfect scope of explaining your career gap so that you don’t have to focus on that in your resume.
Honestly is the Best Approach
You might be dreading questions on your career gap in the resume, but don’t shy away from answering it honestly. You need not divulge every single detail of why you were unemployed for a certain period of time, but it is necessary to give your recruiters a context of your gap. Most importantly, it is important to share what have you gained from that period of your life – what did you do with that time and how it has benefitted you.
Do not lie about your reasons or try to cover up those periods in your resume with fake entries. Career gaps are normal and humane. Recruiters always do background checks where your lies will likely come up. A career gap will not stop you from getting hired, but lying about it will.
If you are currently unemployed and struggling to find a job, don’t just wait for the phone to ring. Divide your time between job hunting and upskilling. A career gap is the perfect time to strengthen your skills and prepare for the next role. Be proactive and look for ways to grow in the domain of your interest.
Take a course, connect with leaders in your field, build a strong network, seek mentoring or take up a voluntary position. Not only will each or all of these explain what you did with your time but also send out a message to your recruiter that you are relevant. Build yourself up, so that it actually doesn’t become difficult to present yourself as a candidate for the roles you apply for.
Great Learning Academy has a number of free courses for professionals who want to get certificates in their areas of interest and make their resume stronger.1