It can be nerve-racking to explain career gaps on resumes and often creates a feeling of doubt about receiving a call. It is no secret that receiving an interview offer has become more difficult, but this can be for many reasons. Employers want more detailed information about applicants to make a better decision. By extending applications, increasing assessments, social media reviews, and resume scanning software. With so much working against candidates, resume wording and formatting are imperative. Is it possible to list a career gap without it feeling like the center of attention?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 90 percent of people have been unemployed at some point in their working lives.
Countless people have expressed that some reasons for employment gaps are acceptable, but sometimes they are overlooked and are often passed up. What are some reasons why someone might have an employment gap? Being honest and upfront on your resume/interview does not mean giving out your life story and struggles. That will work against you in most cases. Be honest and straight to the point, not saying more than what is needed. Picture what a stay-at-home parent’s resume might say (Stay at home parent, Houston, TX 2009-2011), and include a bullet saying, “took time from professional career to raise young children while managing the household.” That section and statement were simple, honest, and straight to the point. Under this section, you could also include things you have learned during this time, like time management, problem-solving, and various communication styles. However, only include the skills related to the position you are applying for. The key for that parent is to prepare to talk about their experience. Don’t rely on the possibility the employer may not ask about gaps of employment.
Whatever the length or the reason for the gap in employment, not being truthful should never be an option. Regardless of the situation is, being honest, upfront, positive, and confident in yourself still goes a long way. Resumes are fluid documents that should describe what you have done and the skills you to the table. This document’s format, wording, and even design can be tailored to the position or industry. Currently, there are three types of resume formats used most: Chronological, Functional, and Hybrid. Chronological resumes are the most popular, but for someone who has extensive or multiple career gaps, Functional Resumes might work better. Functional= Top 3 skills with bullets Chorological= jobs in order by date, and employment listed at the bottom. This format tends to work better with employment gaps, as it keeps the employer’s focus on the skills needed for the position and then lists jobs at the end. The theory is that after an employer reads all your skills, the dates will be an afterthought.
Joshua Allmon is a Regional Facilitator for Workforce Solutions in the Houston – Galveston Region. Before joining the team, Joshua served as a resource specialist, helping customers get back into the workforce by reviewing current labor market information, job readiness skills, and community resources. Joshua’s driving force is to help customers get a job, keep a job, or get a better job by conducting job skills seminars throughout the 13 counties of the Gulf Coast region. He holds a B.A. in Marketing and a Minor in Business Management from Grambling State University.