Three Ways to Own Your Career Gap
A career gap. For some, it’s a crack hardly noticed. For others, a year-long fracture. But for many, a gap is a multi-year chasm that seems insurmountable.
Despite understandable reasons ranging from childcare to health crises to global pandemics, job seekers sell themselves short when explaining gaps to hiring managers.
How can job seekers OWN their career gaps? Here are three ways.
- Owning a Career Gap in a Resume
Job seekers often do not realize the power they have to present themselves as they want to through a resume. Ways to deliver essentials on a resume are as vast as available font options. A resume must always be honest, but the job seeker controls how information is presented and what is relevant.
For example, a candidate with a gap does not have to list exact dates but can list by year—a job can be listed through 2019 if it ended in January of 2019. Along the same lines, every job experience does not have to be included. Only list what is relevant to the position being sought (Alison Doyle, The Balance Careers).
To make gaps less obvious, list previous experience title or role, by company, or by skill set. A functional resume format is an excellent option because skills can be grouped such as “Customer Service Experience” or “B2B Sales Experience.”
Job seekers can and should create different versions of a resume that is customized to each job posting’s keywords. Career gaps can also be mitigated by listing any supplemental coursework taken (many options are available through Coursera for Google professional certificates).
- Owning Your Own Mindset
Career gaps mean tough choices. And personal growth and resiliency are often a result. Own your own mindset towards your career gap through a positive attitude. Be proud of who you are today. “Keep in mind that having a positive, forward-thinking attitude about your job search will help you make continuous progress toward finding and securing your next position,” shared Toni Frana, a FlexJobs career coach. Speaking positively about yourself and being proud of your choices should come across in every email, zoom, and in-person interview.
- Owning Your Interview
Employers want to hire confident employees. In an interview situation, speak confidently about your skills and accomplishments. If asked about a career gap, be prepared to stand by your choice. Indeed recommends using this wording to explain a personal career gap: “I was able to take some time off work to focus on myself. It was a time that prepared me to take on new challenges. I’m incredibly excited about the opportunities that lie ahead, such as this position.” Explain anything you did to stay relevant during the gap like actively networking.
If you are a working mother, consider complimenting employers who offer flexibility and support to working families: “ For working mothers looking to return to their professional roles, it can be beneficial to investigate employers who support and are vocal about their support for working families,” says Joy Altimare, the chief marketing officer at EHE Health.
Prepare for an interview by doing research on the company and position. Practice good posture, eye contact, and positive speech. “Remember that tone goes a long way in an interview. If you appear upbeat about your career trajectory and explain gaps in employment in a positive way, prospective employers will be much more confident in your ability to excel in the duties of the new position” (Alexandra Levit, FlexJobs).
A career gap is never an insurmountable chasm. Artemis Consultants counsels job seekers on how to honestly present their skills in a positive light to employers.
If you specialize in SaaS, B2B Tech and Data Services, Artemis can be an excellent recruiting partner to help you find a new job and help you find qualified candidates.