Whether you were caring for an ailing family member, raising children, or traveling the world, getting employed after a gap in your resume can be a struggle. However, a few tips can help get you hired quickly.
What is one tip on how to get a job after a big career gap?
To help you get employed after a break in your career, we asked recruiters and HR professionals this question for their insights. From reaching out to recruiters to starting with part-time employment, there are several things you can do today to improve your chances of jumpstarting your career after a long pause.
Here are 10 strategies that can help you stand out even with a big career gap:
- Reach Out to Recruiters
- Map Out Your Career
- Utilize Your Cover Letter
- Add Volunteer Experience
- Focus on New Skills You Acquired
- Network, Network, Network
- Keep Up With Your Industry
- Show Continued Growth
- Start With Part-Time Employment
- Explain the Gap
Reach Out to Recruiters
While it might be scary to dive back into the working world after taking a break, the one thing that you can do is be honest. This career break is more useful than you might initially assess. Update your CV or resume and be sure to add any new skills that you acquired — and be transparent about taking a break, as well.
Even though this time wasn’t spent on your career, you did spend it doing something to better yourself. There’s plenty that you’ve learned in the gap. Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to recruiting platforms as they might be able to help match you easier with employers that will understand the gap. Just make sure all the information you hand off is accurate and updated.
Jon Schneider, Recruiterie
Map Out Your Career
Create a career road map to outline your transferable skills and gaps for your desired career. Use this road map to guide your next moves, whether that be getting a new certification, degree or taking an internship to learn a new tangible skill to fill any gaps you may have in your resume. By taking time to advance your knowledge and skillsets, you can add value to yourself and the company you wish to work for.
Rronniba Pemberton, Markitors
Utilize Your Cover Letter
Explain in your cover letter the reason for your big career gap. Did you take time to travel the world? Were you dealing with family members? Don’t shy away from this career gap, but rather lean into it and explain why you took some time off. Add what you learned from that time, so it’s seen as a benefit, not just a lack of traditional work. Doing so will help diffuse any questions that the employer may have about your work gap. Address them without fear and your employer will understand.
Darren Litt, MarketerHire
Add Volunteer Experience
Volunteer first. Join some professional groups. Attend some professional training sessions. Find ways to re-engage and then showcase these on your resume under a section on professional development. Make the most recent job a sabbatical and add a sentence as to why you took time off (i.e., caring for an elderly parent, stay-at-home parent, etc.).
Jennifer Holtz, Second Wind Career Strategies
Focus on New Skills You Acquired
Orient your resume, applications, and interview responses to focus on what you have learned during the career gap. It could be a new skill that you may have picked up or gained some new insight on your career — whatever it is, make that the highlight of your interactions, written or verbal. The goal is to indicate how you have managed to extract value from what is normally considered an obstacle. Be authentic in this response, and do not overshare.
Joe Flanagan, VelvetJobs
Network, Network, Network
Having a large career gap can seem like a huge problem when you are ready to re-enter the workforce, but it’s not the end of the world. Similar to when you first entered the workforce, you had to network. As you re-enter the workforce with a large career gap, networking will be key to finding a new position. Go hard with the networking efforts, and you will find a new position in no time.
Chris Cronin, KITANICA
Keep Up With Your Industry
No matter what your field of expertise is if you want to stay relevant and well-informed, familiarize yourself with current trends in your industry. This could be anything from attending conferences and virtual events to picking the brains of an acquaintance who is well established in your field. Not only does this prepare you for transitioning into a new role, but it can also help shed some light on where your skills are lacking and what you need to do to bridge the gap.
Riley Beam, Douglas R. Beam, P.A.
Show Continued Growth
Although you may have a large career gap, that doesn’t mean you cannot continue learning and growing professionally. As such, take advantage of the time you are not working by obtaining professional certificates within your profession. Whether it’s a technical, qualitative, or quantitative certificate, showing hiring managers that you are continuing to grow — even in the midst of a career gap — will only strengthen your chances of being hired.
Lori Price, PixieLane
Start With Part-Time Employment
There are usually more part-time positions available than salary or full-time. Look for part-time gigs that can ease you back into the career field. This way, you are able to quickly learn new systems, tools, and protocols without getting overwhelmed with 40-hour weeks. It is a great time to re-engage with your profession and get to know it again.
Tamara Mayne, Brooklyn Candle Studio
Explain the Gap
As a hiring manager, when I see career gaps or someone who jumps from job to job, it makes me nervous about hiring that candidate. I have seen a few resumes lately that have added an asterisk that explains the gap. Sometimes those jobs are contractor jobs that expire after a certain period of time. I would not have known that if I didn’t see it on a resume. I think it’s a great thing to add to the resume. It might prevent a hiring manager from passing over you as a candidate if you have that explanation presented.
Shelbey Grimes, Trinity Air Medical