Topic of the Week Resume Gaps
Resume Gaps, Executive Summary:
Filling in Your Resume Gaps
The length of time that it takes to get a job is finally starting to drop. But that doesn't mean that it isn't still difficult to survive the hiring gauntlet these days. One of the biggest challenges facing most job seekers right now are resume gaps. Let's face it, many of us have had a lost a variety of jobs over the past five years so it can be a challenge is to fill in those pesky resume gaps. Which reminds me of my experience doing local and national TV news. I'll never forget the first time my camera man told me that I was "shiny." Yep, you guessed it, I had to go get a makeup consultation. As embarrassed as I was initially to carry around a makeup case, I did learn that makeup does make you look better by smoothing over your face.
It's no different with your resume, you can fill in those gaps to make yourself look better to potential employers. I once interviewed a recruiter who told me that she has no problem with someone who has been laid off, because so many have. But she wants to see how they used their time when unemployed. Here are some strategies to consider.
Projects. There are always a lot of people looking for jobs, but far fewer who are looking for projects or part-time work. Sure the benefits of a full time gig are nice, but the flexibility of projects has its advantages too. I've even heard from friends who were laid off only to be rehired as consultants by their old firms. There are also a number of websites for both part time and project work assignments.
Volunteer. I'm a huge fan of volunteering because you not only can help yourself, but you can also do good for your community. Choose your volunteer gig careful. Look for issues that you're passionate about, but also look for places that will value your skills and give you opportunities to develop new ones.
Learn. Most people who have a full time job don't feel that they have the time, energy or inclination to go back to school. But when you are unemployed this is an option that everyone should consider. Especially when there are community colleges that offer inexpensive courses in a wide range of areas. Another option is Western Governors University (WGU) a nonprofit all-online university that hasn't raised its tuition since 2008.
Publish. I know an HR director who is constantly on the lookout for people who write blogs on topics relevant to her industry. She told me that she's hired a few people who've shown that they're knowledgeable about their field.
Makeup works great on TV but you want to avoid making things up with your résumé, because that can come back to bite you. Fill I the gaps but always tell the truth when you do.
Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning workplace911.com. Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, "The Boss's Survival Guide." If you have a question for Bob, contact him via [email protected].