How are my job seekers doing this week? I hope you are ready for another fantastic week.
Today we’re diving into how to structure gaps of unemployment within your resume and how to address it during an interview. But before we even get started, lets’ address a couple of things. If you've been actively in the job market for more than a month, you really want to 10x your efforts. The longer you're out of the job market, the harder it is to find a job. If you're at that six weeks mark, four weeks mark, or more, I would advise that you make sure that you're networking. Connect with individuals and companies on all social media platforms, not just LinkedIn, but also Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Make your presence known. If you've been in the job market for more than six weeks, it is time to 10x your efforts going into next week to make sure that you are stacking the deck in your favor, and that you're being aggressive and being very intentional with your job search. Alright, so let's talk about gaps of unemployment!
As a general rule, gaps of unemployment of more than a month to two months have an impact.
When a recruiter is looking at your resume, just on face value, gaps of unemployment will influence that recruiter to a certain degree. And that's simply because they don't have a personal relationship with you. They haven't interviewed you yet. They're just simply looking at your profile based on what they see on paper. So before we even talk about how to address gaps of unemployment during an interview, we have to make sure that we get you into the interview.
In order for your resume, with two to three months of a gap of unemployment to land you an interview, I would recommend that you eliminate the month and that you just put the year. (Example: 2017 to 2019.) It's not ideal, but again, it's much better than having a gaping two to three months gap of unemployment, especially if it's continual throughout your career. This can work if it's one to two months, maybe up to three months of unemployment time.
If your gap of unemployment is more than six months, just putting the year is not going to cut it.
Here you have to explain that gap of unemployment, you want to have a brief, one sentence within your resume that explains why you have that gap. Example: Say that you worked at Company XYZ from June 2017 to July 2018, but you didn't start your next job until December 2018, you want to explain that gap because it is too large.
There are many acceptable explanations for gaps of unemployment. Many leave the workforce for a moment to take care of a loved one, to go back to school for a higher education, some were laid off. If it's a situation that you've just been looking for a job for six months and you just haven't found anything, the best way to explain that particular gap of unemployment is that you were looking for the best suitable match for your skills and background. It's never a good idea to come out desperate for a position. It's best to be self confident. Just because you've been in the job market for four months, five months, six months, it does not take away your value and your skillset. Always remember that with great skill, you deserve a great job. You have to believe in yourself and it will become apparent during your interviews because recruiters and hiring managers can see insecurities and confidence within an interview. During an interview you always want to come off looking strong and secure within yourself and just basically saying in a tactful way, “I have been looking for the right opportunity where I can utilize my skills to really help a company get to the next level.” What you do not want to say or express is, “Oh my goodness I have been looking and nobody has hired me.” You don't want to have a defeatist mentality. You really want to go in there and say, look I have been looking for the right opportunity and if this is the right opportunity, I'm willing to continue to have these discussion.
If you have a large gap of unemployment on your resume this is not the end of your career, this is life.
Life happens and sometimes you do have to take time off to take care of a loved one, or we have to go back to school, or we had an unexpected layoff, or we just can't find a suitable job. Most hiring managers, at least the good ones, and organizations where you want to work will understand that life happens. It's really incumbent on you. However, to explain what happened and to do it in a very tactful way without giving blame or fault to anybody and really focusing on the skills that you can bring to that specific job is critical.
What is really important when you have gaps in unemployment in your resume is to really be able to understand why you had that gap, and being able to explain it in a professional way. Do not shortchange yourself and do not put yourself down, on paper or during the interview. Realize that you have a skillset that organizations needs and are looking for. Your goal when you're in the job market is to find the company that needs your skillset. It's your responsibility that your resume is done properly, is professionally done, that you've taken the opportunity to have somebody else proofread it, that it's in good resume structure, and that you have a cover letter.
It is crucial to have a cover letter, especially when you have gaps of unemployment because you can take that time to explain a little bit more as to why you have those gaps of unemployment.
Now of course, you don't wanna get too personal and give out too much detail, but just enough that the hiring manager understands why that gap is present. If you have any questions about your job search, please comment below. I personally will respond to every single question that you have as it relates to your job search. Please be sure to share, comment, like this video. Follow us on Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. I'm really passionate about helping individuals find jobs this year. It's something that I'm really committed to, so please reach out to me with any questions that you have as it relates to your job search. Constance@ITHStaffing.com
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