If you’ve been out of work for some time, whether that’s a few months to a few years, you may be nervous about how to portray this on your resume because you don’t want recruiters to think your experience or skills are outdated or that you’re out of practice.
Before worrying about how recruiters may view this career break, remember that everything in life is relative to perspective. This is important when thinking about how you want to portray this career break on your resume, what you want to title it as, and the skills you may want to list underneath it. You may also consider forgoing a timeline format resume and looking into one that highlights skills and achievements more than experience. You can change the viewer’s perspective on this career gap by how you portray it.
If you choose to go with a more functional resume opposed to a chronological one, make sure your summary statement, relevant skills, and accomplishments all focus on positive experiences and moments of growth for you. That way, recruiters are focusing on positive moments and reflections of what you have to offer.
If you decide to use a resume template that shows experience chronologically or follows a timeline, that’s okay, too. Note the duration of the time you were off as accurately as you can to be as honest as possible and give the title of the break a name that will somewhat explain the gap, but also provide the recruiter with an idea of how you used this time away from work to advance the skills you’ve cultivated for your career path.
For instance, if you’ve been taking care of one of your family members because they fell ill or you recently started a family, title your career break as “Full-time Caregiver” and list the skills you’ve gained from that experience, especially if you’re applying to a job within the healthcare field or in human resources.
Also note any projects you’ve undertaken during your time off, any certifications or educational courses you’ve completed, and any volunteer work. This will show that while you may not have been employed for a time, you were always working towards further developing your skillset and learning. This will encourage the perspective that while you were away from your career, you never strayed too far from those career aspirations and were always advancing yourself in some way.
It can be scary putting yourself out there again after a career break, but it’s all about how you portray that time away from your career to potential employers. Your resume is a great way to highlight experiences you’ve had or projects you’ve taken on during a career break that still showcase your efforts to learn and grown as an individual.