So you have a few employment gaps in your resume?
Don't fret. You're not alone.In this economy, many conscientious professionals experienced a layoff, firing or an unplanned sabbatical from work.
Working moms in particular, are extending their maternity leave to take care of fragile newborns and rambunctious toddlers.
If you find yourself struggling to fill the gaps in your career, fill the cracks honestly using the following strategies.
Look the recruiter straight in the eye and tell the truth
Because hiring managers and recruiters are looking for the weakest candidate to eliminate quickly, you should have a specific and rational explanation for each gap.
Discuss experiences, which focus on your employable skills; not the illness, firing or management clash that caused the employment gaps in the first place.Don’t avoid the gaps in an interview.If during the interview you are asked for an approximate time spent in your past position, don't stretch the time to two years; if the job only lasted one and one half.
Fill in the cracks with years instead of fragmented months
If your last position spans multiple years leave off the months. The same applies if you were in a position for less than a year. Instead of placing the job start date as January 2003, you would only place the year 2003 alone, to cover the gaps. The reader/interviewer can then grasp the length of time quickly using years to calculate the breadth of experience, while quickly scanning the resume.
Don't neglect the cover letter
The cover letter sets the tone for the resume and interview. Write an Academy-award winning cover letter backed by a solid summary of qualifications for an irresistible first introduction. Include in the letter a one to two line explanation, about the gaps and emphasize that you are enthusiastic about a return to work.
Volunteer work, continued education and second jobs count too
Lord knows I couldn’t seal the cracks in my resume without my volunteer gigs.If you brushed up on your marketing, volunteered as a technology consultant or raised funds for an organization and this experience relates to the current position; mention it. From planning fundraisers to giving a talk to school aged children, everything counts towards your work history.
I don't know of one employer who likes a resume filled with employment gaps. However, you can overcome these issues with confidence. When you've sealed the resume gaps with results, effort and skill-based activities, you are not in the position to beg while interviewing; but negotiate as an equal.