It is much more common these days for people to have gaps in employment. Layoffs are more common. People are switching jobs more often, especially younger workers. In fact, the stigma attached to such gaps has been declining somewhat, although, unfortunately, it is still present.
So, if you have a gap in employment, how should you address it on your resume? The first piece of advice is this – don’t try to hide it or fudge on it. Recruiters and hiring managers are not stupid. You won’t be fooling anyone. It will simply make you look dishonest.
What you can do is organize your resume to highlight your skills and accomplishments, rather than focusing on a chronology of your past employment.
But the important thing to remember about handling gaps in work history is to focus on what you did during that time. Employers want to see that you made good use of the time, showed energy and initiative,worked to keep your skills sharp, that you had the fortitude and resilience to make lemonade from lemons. The worst thing you can do is shrug your shoulders when the hiring manager asks what you did while you were unemployed.
What Employers Want to See
What kinds of efforts while unemployed impress employers the most? A recent survey turned up the following results. Most of the employers surveyed – about four-fifths – looked favorably on temporary or contract work. About two-thirds liked seeing that the job candidate spent the time taking a class or doing volunteer work. One-third of the employers were excited to see that the candidate started his or her own business. And about 10 percent were well-disposed toward candidates who started their own professional blog.
So, there is no lack of things to do to stay current in your profession while unemployed. In fact, doing one or more of the activities mentioned above might just enable you to meet people who can help you find your next job, or even impress an employer enough with your initiative to give you an edge on the competition.