If you are like some of us who have a gap in our work history when we were not working a full-time paying job, how do you handle that on your resume? Do you leave it out and risk more questions at the interview or risk being shut out?
Or do you take a positive attitude and find a way to fill the time and your resume? What is the reason for the gap? Were you attending graduate school? Were you at home raising your kids? Taking care of an elderly parent or a sick family member? Or just out of work, depressed, and not having an easy time of it?
You need to find a way to transpose what you have been doing in that time into a marketable skill.
So, you can do any one of the following:
1) Volunteer – lead a team of volunteers; volunteering is a legitimate way to spend your time if you are not working. It shows you have taken the initiative, you are using some skills, and you are giving back to your community. A local food pantry or New York Cares are two ways to give back.
2) Pro bono consulting such as with TapRoot Foundation, Junior Achievement. If you want to use your hard skills, such as marketing, strategic planning, financial planning or data analysis, organizations such as Taproot offer short-term pro bono consulting opportunities.
3) Join a professional organization and be active – lead a committee. A great way to meet new people in your field, get a sense of where things are going, and learning current practice is to become active in your own profession’s association. There is a professional organization for every field and job title. Find your niche and get to be known while doing good work.
4) Part-time employment – While you are looking for full-time employment, it pays to take a part-time, temporary, or interim job for the experience, the paycheck, and a placeholder on your resume. There is a prejudice against job seekers who are not working at all. You can then list this work even though it may have been part-time, temporary, interim or other.
5) Transfer your skills from the situation – If you have been helping an aging parent or a sick family member-you may be dealing with Social Security, with hospitals, with attorneys, patient advocacy, etc. If you have been a stay-at-home mom taking care of children -you have been planning activities; PTA membership, etc. Think of some specific accomplishments you have achieved while being out of work and add those to the accomplishments list of your resume.