A resume gap is an extended period (or gap) of time unaccounted for on your resume. And post Great Recession, resume gaps are a common occurrence as many people do actually go years without being gainfully employed. But just because they are a common occurrence does not mean that they can be left unexplained. If you have a gap of one year or more on your resume between jobs, you can be that your potential employer will inquire about it. So if you are on this boat, how do you go about handling your extended period of unemployment? Well the easiest answer is to fill the gap.
Filling in the Gap
Instead of leaving a gap of extended unemployment, fill that gap with things that will increase your market value. You can fill that gap in by doing three things:
- Part-time work, freelance work, or internships
- Continuing education
Employers like people who like to learn and are go-getters. Taking part-time work, freelancing work, or extra classes shows an employer that you are trying to better yourself and willing to do whatever it takes to get things done and get a competitive edge. It is an admirable trait to continue to improve in the face of adversity (unemployment) and employers will recognize that.
How to Go About Filling the Gap
Above, we talked about the three ways to go about filling the resume gap: part-time, freelance or internship work, volunteering, and extra schooling. Let’s go over how to properly go about filling in your gap with each method:
Picking up work here and there is important to stay afloat. However, make sure that the part-time work, freelance work, or internship is related in some shape or form. If you are trying to get into the computer engineering industry, part-time work as a waiter at Applebee’s does very little in getting you closer to a career in computer engineering. However, if you did some freelance programming or worked part-time for a game animation firm, that can go a very long way in advancing your career. Whatever you do, be sure to save all your work so you can show it to your potential employers. Also, keep in close touch with your bosses or clients as they will be the ones vouching for you later on down the line.
You may have a little more leeway in volunteering than you do with internships, freelance work, or part-time work. The fact that you are able to do work for free shows your altruistic nature. Employees love people with good hearts.
If you are taking classes, they should ideally be classes that will increase your knowledge in the area of work you are interested in. However, if that’s not the case, that’s okay too; employers like to see employees who strive to improve themselves, even if it doesn’t directly relate to the field. If you are worried about cost, don’t. There are many online courses that are either offered for free or cost less than $100. Many of these courses are offered by world-classes universities too. Check these courses out at sites like Udemy and Coursera.