Returning to work after a long career gap can be scary. You might worry that employers will see your resume gap and decide not to take a chance on you. However, there are ways of overcoming a resume gap and landing the job you want. Follow these tips to explain the gap in your resume and show employers you have a lot of valuable skills to offer.
The first thing to remember when returning to the workforce is that a resume gap is no longer the curse it used to be. During the recent recession, many people were laid off as companies downsized or went out of business. Hiring managers today understand that having a resume gap is very common and doesn't always mean that the candidate is under skilled or cannot hold down a job.
Even though hiring managers are used to seeing resume gaps, you still need to explain why you were out of the workforce. Write about your resume gap in your cover letter so hiring managers aren't left guessing about your reasons for being out of work.
It is always a good idea to present your resume gap in a positive light. After mentioning the reason why you left your last job, focus on how you have spent the time since then. For example, if you took classes to enhance your skills so you can enter a new industry, write about your new skills and qualifications. If you cared for children or a relative during your time off, write about how you are delighted to return to the workforce after taking time out for family reasons.
Think about work-related activities you engaged in during your time off. For example, if you worked as a volunteer, write about your experiences with the volunteer organization and any new skills you developed. Ask someone you worked with to act as a reference so this person can vouch for your new skills.
Never be tempted to fudge dates or make up jobs to cover up a resume gap. Employers often check references to verify information about a candidate's employment history. If they find out you lied on your resume, they might lose interest or withdraw a job offer.
Once you explain your resume gap, don't dwell on it. Even if you took a few years off, you are still a skilled professional with a lot to offer a potential employer. In your resume and cover letter, focus on the skills and experience you can bring to the role, rather than putting the focus solely on your career gap.
A resume gap doesn't have to spoil your chance of landing your dream job. Use your cover letter to explain the resume gap in a positive light and focus on the skills and abilities you possess that make you a prime candidate.
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