Work Gap on Your Resume? Overcome this Challenge.

Having a work gap on your resume is extremely common these days, especially due to downsizing and layoffs. Unfortunately, an extended period of unemployment still raises red flags for the majority of hiring managers. If you are looking for a job and worried that parts of your past will affect your prospects for the future, use these tips and tricks to overcome the challenge of a work gap.

Revise Your Work History

Depending on your work history, employers are traditionally interested in only your last two or three jobs or past 5-8 years. If you’ve had a work gap in the early part of your career, there is no reason to highlight it on your resume if it came between two jobs that are basically irrelevant to your current qualifications. A good way to address this issue is to shorten your resume with a notation “additional experience available upon request”.

Highlight Your Professional Development

Just because you were out of work doesn’t mean you were sitting idle the whole time.  Turn a work gap from a negative into a positive by emphasizing any personal and professional development which occurred during the time you were out of unemployed.. If you took classes, volunteered your time, gained a new certification, or otherwise broadened your professional perspective during your work gap, to highlight those initiatives to illustrate a self-initiated willingness to increase your value as a candidate.

Prepare for Your Interview

You can bet that  any time gaps on your resume  will come up in an interview.. Make sure you have an answer prepared in advance so you’re able to address the issue clearly, confidently, and carefully. Candidates that fumble explaining their work gap will inadvertently draw attention to the issue.

Always be Honest

Never lie, obscure, or exaggerate the truth when you are explaining a work gap to an interviewer. The truth will come out eventually, and you only hurt your cause by being dishonest. Even if you were out of work for a reason that doesn’t reflect positively on you, it’s better to frame it as a part of your past than to try and cover up the issue. The best way to address this issue is to draw attention to what you learned as a result of a negative situation, and how you already have and will apply those key learnings to make you a better employee in the future.

Emphasize the Future

Ideally, the focus of any job interview will be on your potential in the future and not your record in the past. Try to emphasize that whatever the cause of your previous work gap(s), the situation has helped you to become a better employee moving forward – You now have more education ,  satisfied your urge to travel, established a family, and  more committed than ever to your career. Use one work gap to demonstrate you will never have another.

Everyone has blemishes in their past that give hiring managers pause. Overcoming them depends on being honest, direct, and a little bit savvy. If you know how to put your best face forward, employers will only see your value. Learn more about advanced job-seeking strategies by consulting with the IT staffing experts at CultureFit.