Christie really inspired me to take charge of my career, rather than letting my career take charge of me. Thanks to Christie, I found the guts to ditch my boring, unfulfilling job and to take a new gig with more possibilities. - Melina Vissat
The dreaded "resume gap." The thing that drives us all crazy, and fills us with a certain shame. What if "they" find out that I wasn't working for a period of time?
They could draw all sorts of conclusions....right?
- I got fired
- I got laid-off
- I quit my job but couldn't find another one
- I'm sketchy
- I'm unemployable!
- I'm sketchy, suspicious, and unemployable!
Well, I'm here to say that you do NOT need to worry...quite so much.
While resume gaps are never something to shoot for ("Why yes! I totally couldn't find work for 6 months! Thank you for asking!"), they aren't the sign of evil that our parents grew up with. The truth is, things have changed.
1. People are more mobile and likely to change jobs than ever before.
2. The economy has been sucking for years, forcing many people into odd resume gaps.
3. The world is getting smaller, and travel, family leave, part-time work, and all sorts of reasonable excuses for not working for a bit are becoming more and more normal.
As a hiring manager, I never worried about the resume gap in and of itself, I worried about WHAT you were doing during the gap. Were you doing something interesting or cool (travel, volunteering, learning new skills?) that was productive and forward thinking regardless of your reasons as to why you had the time (laid-off or doing it of your own volition). Did you talk of it in a non-negative way? (No one likes a downer). Did you have a simple explanation?
If you are doing it by choice (even if it drags out longer than you intended), then say this:
"I took a few months off to travel, and I learned so much!"
"I wanted to travel in between jobs, and I just got back."
"I took time off and did some volunteer work. What I loved most about that experience was [insert something relevant to your new job/interview]"
The truth is that if your resume gap is small, most employers won't even notice it (use years and not months in your job descriptions).
If you are not taking break by choice, and time has passed, say this:
"My company down-sized and I took the opportunity to do [interesting and relevant thing] and now I'm excited to bring that to this workspace!"
Put a positive spin on whatever happened, and tell a great story about it.
Either way, it's NOT something to panic about.
Now go forth and get employed!
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