There may be any number of reasons you haven’t worked for some time. Perhaps you have taken a hiatus due to family responsibilities, illness or other circumstances. Or, you could be a victim of the recession and sparse job market. Whatever the reason, putting together a resume when you have been out of work for a year or more is a little intimidating. The gap between your last job and the present day seems to jump out at you. It would be great if potential employers didn’t take gaps into consideration when hiring, but they do.
What You Should Be Doing Now
While employment history is certainly important, it isn’t the only thing employers look at. Ultimately, they want to know you have the skills to do the job. If you haven’t been in the workplace for some time, their biggest concern is that your skills are outdated. One way to show that you are a marketable candidate is to stay up-to-date with skills in your field. You can do this by taking courses either in person or online.
Other ways to pad your resume include listing volunteer work, conferences, trade shows, conventions or anything else you do related to your profession. If you have gone to any networking events or done any type of freelance work, add that too.
If you have just started your job search, or are considering rejoining the workforce in the near future, now is a good time to start doing these things. Many online courses are free or reasonable, and volunteer work always looks good on a resume. Start networking and joining organizations related to your field.
Put The Focus On Your Skills
Another strategy is to open with your skills. By putting your skills first, you bring the attention to your qualifications and abilities, not your work history. List any skills, experience and ability that is directly related to the position you are applying to. Employers want to know what you are bringing to the table, so keep the focus on that.
Discuss Gaps In Your Cover Letter
Depending on the situation, you can discuss your lack of recent work history in your cover letter. Try to keep things positive, and you don’t need to get into too much personal detail. Use your best judgment.
While employment gaps are something that employers notice and frown upon, don’t let it get you down. Spruce up your resume and keep building your skills and experience. The right job is out there, and the right resume can make a difference.