Most recruiters tend to make mountains out of molehills when it comes to career gaps. But truth be told, it's not a big deal. Every professional, at some point in their lives, may end up taking some time to blow off some steam, and that's okay.
But you need to know what to do and what not to do when formulating your resume after you do spend that prolonged vacation away from the workforce.
This article seeks to resolve this problem.
Use the year - year format and omit the months
The art of concealment is a skill set that you should master while drafting your resume after a career gap. If the gaps in your career do not exceed the one-year mark, you can simply conceal them by omitting the months and instead focusing on the starting and ending year of your professional engagements.
For example, if you have worked at a place from January 2018 to January 2019, left work for 6 months, and then rejoined the workforce by December 2019, you can simply focus on the years and leave out the months altogether.
- Company X. 2018 - 2019
- Company Y: 2019 - Present
Draw attention to your skills using the functional resume format
Whether you have career gaps or not does not determine your professional brand value. What defines you and your professional caliber is your skills.
So even if you do have a career gap, don't worry too much about it. As long as you are able to demonstrate that your skills hold value, that they are relevant, and that the company can profit from them, nothing can come between you and your dream job. If your skill sets are relevant to your target industry, that's all that matters.
Using the functional resume template
to organize your resume can help. This resume format is ideal for professionals with career gaps, as it helps you shift focus to your skill sets instead of focusing on the timeline of your work experience.
Mention any relevant certifications, volunteering experience, or freelancing experience you may have done in your career gap
That you took a career gap does not mean that you stayed idle.
You may have done relevant certifications to up-skill for your chosen job, freelanced during the period of your time away from work, or volunteered for a cause you really cared about.
Put them in your resume. For all you know, they might not even be counted as a career gap.
Be honest about your career gaps when asked about them
Once you get shortlisted for a job, a recruiter is likely to run a background check on you. It is not your responsibility to mention your work absence explicitly in your resume.
If the recruiters question you (which they probably will), be honest and let them know why you have those gaps. It is easier to give a verbal explanation about the reason you had to take a break from your career than explicitly making an announcement of your career lapse in your resume.
Use a Cover Letter to explain your career gaps
Instead of waiting to get shortlisted and then explaining your absences, it is better to get this sorted before-hand. A cover letter will help you tremendously. Write one and send it along with your resume to the organizations you want to work with.
Aditya is the co-founder of Hiration - an AI-powered online resume builder
and platform to help professionals across the world find their way in the treacherous job market.
Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.
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