Getting Back in the Game: Crafting Your Resume after a Gap in Employment




  • March 14, 2015

    library-career


    There are many reasons why a job seeker may have taken time off in their career. They may have chosen to stay home and raise their children, go back to school, travel, volunteer, or care for another family member. Perhaps they were recovering from illness or injury. Maybe they got laid off and were struggling to find a new job. Whatever the reason, now they have a gap in their work history and may fear that this can keep them from landing a job.


    How you craft your resume and what you include can make a difference. You still possess valuable skills and experience that can work to your benefit. Don’t undersell your abilities (but don’t go overboard and inflate your experience either).


    Create a strong summary of qualifications. As you look to get back into the workforce, what would you bring to your next employer? Consider the type of job you are looking for and what your strengths are in relation to this. Use this opening statement as a way to really highlight your talents and what you have to offer. Over the years you may have developed strong negotiation, communication, management, or leadership skills. Perhaps you have fine tuned your financial abilities from managing your own finances or that of a loved one. Even though you have been out of the workforce, you have likely amassed a range of skills.


    Show what you have been doing in the interim. If you’re staying home to raise your children, you are likely not sitting around doing nothing. Have you volunteered at their school? Sat on a local board? Done some consulting work? Volunteered in the community? These are all activities that you can include to show how you stayed active during your unemployment. Think about the transferable skills you gained related to event planning, coaching, mentoring, fundraising, or whatever you happened to be doing. How are these skills relatable to the job you are applying for? Think outside of the box and approach things from a new perspective. Talk to others about what you have done and see if they can help you find connections.


    Highlight professional development. If you know that you will be taking time off from work, strive to stay active with keeping your skills up to date. Attend conferences, training sessions, or other industry events. Consider signing up for a class that will let you further your knowledge and skills. There are many online classes that let you work at your own pace and when it is convenient with your schedule. Show that you are taking initiative to better yourself and your career opportunities.


    It is important to show how you have continued to grow and develop your skills during your unemployment. Employers recognize that people take time off whether by choice or necessity. The job market is competitive so boost your chances of landing an interview by demonstrating that you are still a strong contender and have what it takes to get the job done. Staying up-to-date with trends and skills in the industry is important.

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