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Four Ways to Explain Gaps in Your Resumé

Slow Monday, GC’ers? You’re damn right. Call up your buddies and make today Margarita Monday. What better way to prepare for Tequila Tuesday, amiright?

I received the following question in my inbox from a recently unemployed reader:

I was let go from my firm in the fall of 2009. I have since found a part-time job but am struggling to secure full-time work. I’m afraid that if I go too long without finding a new job that I’ll have a hard time explaining the gap in my resumé. What do you suggest?

My two Lincolns follow:

Part-time work is better than nothing – If you have ever been between jobs, you know that job searching is not a 9-5 ordeal. After the first few weeks of searching the Monster’s and CareerBuilder’s of the online world, one becomes very efficient in their respective search capabilities. Jobs are not filled in a first-come-first-served manner either, so it becomes a matter of searching new jobs (typically Monday and Friday are the most popular posting days) once a day to make sure you’re on top of the newest opportunities.

That said, you’ll find yourself with a lot of time during the days. Rather than catch up on your Netflix account, find yourself a part-time job or volunteer opportunity. It will keep your mind active, your spirits up, and even some extra change in your pocket. This also shows that maintaining a work ethic and staying professionally active is important to you

Update your resume on a regular basis – On the flip side of the online job market pool, employers know the last time you updated your resume. Revising your resume once a week will ensure that it remains near the top of searches. I’m not saying you should re-work your work experience every week; changing even the slightest detail is enough to register as an update in their system.

Be honest – Whatever you do, do not lie to your recruiter or the HR professional representing a potential job. In addition to background and credit checks, employment verification checks are becoming ever more popular. Don’t feel like you need to lie about when you lost your pervious job; you’re not the only person that has been affected by the recent recession. Which brings me to my last point.

You’re not alone – Sure, the recession has led to a saturated job market; employers understand this as they begin to re-hire individuals. Recent gaps in your resumé are not scarlet letters (like they would have been in 2007) for your chances of landing an interview.

Once that interview is secured, be honest and upfront about the missing time pieces in your work experience. And whatever you do, hit home the fact that you’re hoping a new role with ABC Inc. will lead to a successful future of stability and growth for both you and the company.