SAGE ADVICE FOR RESUMES, INTERVIEWING, AND MORE!
- By bruce w clagg
Is a Gap in Work History a Career Killer?
A gap in work history used to be a ‘red flag’ to hiring managers, but is it still as bad for a candidate to have months, or even years, without a job?
If the time off is appropriately explained, then there really shouldn’t be much of an issue with a gap in work history. Parents take time off to raise their children. Illness (which could make someone concerned about future health issues). People take breaks from their careers to go back to school, travel, care for a family member, or focus on a special interest to advance themselves.
In addition, careers have become less linear. Millennials are less likely to follow a traditional career path, switching departments, or companies to learn more about what interests them. It is possible for an individual to drop out of the workforce to get more education, or to start a business (which would be ‘employment’ on the resume).
However, many recruiters and hiring decision-makers (DMs) still prefer to hire individuals who are currently employed rather than someone who is currently seeking work, or has a reasonably, long gap on their resume. An employed candidate is more desirable, but why? I believe that there is always a doubt about why someone departed their former employer. The ‘down-sizing,’ or ‘right-sizing’ that so many companies and industries have undergone in recent years shouldn’t necessarily cast a shadow, or doubt on the candidate – it’s just business. But, did you just quit, or were you dismissed?
That said, one is definitely more marketable if employed than unemployed. DMs prefer that. Now, for those unemployed, despite what you read from federal agencies about the unemployment rate, new jobs’ reports, etc., millions of Americans will still say that it’s the worst job market in decades although improving ever so slightly.
“I’ve been spending the past 11 months on a search for a ‘career position’ – something that is exciting, challenging, and that I know my experience will help make me very successful. Landing a job is not that difficult. I could land a new job today, but those generally do not last long. I’m fortunate enough to be able to spend the time and effort to find that great, ‘career position’ which is the reason I’m here talking with you today.” How’s that? I believe that (a) it’s probably truthful, if you think about it, (b) it’s a very plausible explanation that most interviewers would understand, albeit no one else has ever explained it that way.
As an ‘employment professional,’ I have had clients in almost every situation imaginable. For those that go about their ‘job search’ like they have in the past, things are not working out as they once did. The Internet job boards draw 15,000 resume submissions, or more today versus the 20 to 50 resumes that resulted from an ad in the Sunday newspaper. ATS software was invented to ‘screen’ those thousands of resumes since no human can review that many for a single job opening and that software is still, in my view, in its infancy and has a long way to go to become truly useful to a company. IT’S NOT YOU, IT’S YOUR RESUME that is limiting the calls for an interview and that new ‘career position!’
Keep your self-confidence and self-esteem and, perhaps, seek professional assistance from those that deal with this job market for hours every day. It’s a solid investment to make in yourself and the Return-On-Investment is less than one week’s pay for most!
Hello! I'm Bruce Clagg,
Advanced Career Solutions
Advanced Career Solutions (ACS) is a professional resume writing services firm also providing unique, job interview training, LinkedIn Profile rebuilding, career counseling & coaching from the ONLY multi-certified professional* in Pennsylvania.
- Bruce Clagg, Rapid Employment & Career Management Coach
*The four Certifications are noted within.