Knowing how to describe job gaps is key to the perfect interview.
No matter how you try to find the positives in the situation, being unemployed is always frustrating. At a time when many are out of work due to the pandemic, and for some no end of unemployment in sight, addressing gaps in candidate resumes may become more relevant in the coming months and years.
If you’re trying to rejoin the workforce, be honest about your drive to obtain gainful employment, and what you’ve done to make that happen. The hiring manager will not expect you to pretend your time between jobs has been a walk in the park. However, they don’t want to hear you complain, either. As cliché as it sounds, this is when employers want to see that you have made the most of a bad situation.
In one survey, employers cited the following activities as the best ways for job candidates to expand and strengthen their skills:
- Take a temporary or contract position – 79 percent
- Take a class – 61 percent
- Volunteer – 60 percent
- Start your own business – 28 percent
- Start a professional blog – 11 percent
The first step when asked about your job gap is to explain why you have this gap. Now, you must be honest, but you shouldn’t sabotage your chances at landing the position by volunteering things which may hurt you. Of course, in 2020, having a gap of a few months is understandable. Perhaps you lost your job due to the pandemic and, like many others, are having trouble finding a new one. Be honest and employers will understand.
However, it is best to be filling your time with activities that can prove you used the time wisely and invested in yourself. In the survey above, by CareerBuilder, 61% of employers said that they value taking the time to expand and strengthen skills by taking a class when unemployed. While another 60% said volunteering is the best way to increase your value during unemployment. Just because you have a gap in your employment, doesn’t mean you were idle. Let the hiring manager know how you took advantage of the time away from work to improve yourself, so you can add value to their organization. You can look for relevant achievements in volunteering, freelancing, part time work, or even external/internal challenges you faced. No matter what you were doing during your employment gap, try and find some value.
Of course, the very best way to combat an employment gap, is to simply not have one in the first place. An overwhelming majority of employers surveyed by CareerBuilder, 79%, responded that the best way to overcome a gap in employment is to take temporary or contract-based positions. This is of course where Visium Resources excels. With positions available at all skill levels, all over the country. At Visium, we may have that perfect opportunity for you. Not only does this prevent you from having a gap in employment, it allows you to strengthen skills and add expertise which can make it even easier to land your next long-term position.
Of course, the common thread among all these suggestions is initiative. Employers understand that the economy or a tough situation may always prevent you from having your ideal job, but there are plenty of ways to stay current and up to date with your industries skills and trends. The suggestions here might even help you edge out a competitor who has not demonstrated that they are as committed to personal growth.
When you are asked, “What have you been doing since your last position?” Your answer should never be “nothing.” Look at the suggestions above and plan how you can better describe your job gaps as opportunities to gr grow your professional and personal brand.