Let’s assume you leave your job without another job offer in hand. How suicidal is it? Do you think its very critical to have another job lined up before you accept this job. Many recruiters will opine that it is suicidal to your career.
There are several reasons employees have to do this wantedly or unwantedly. You should note I mentioned “have to.” People don’t screw up ther job security and leave jobs just like that. They definitely do not want to run out of money and struggle with stress and finances. Sometimes tough decisions are deemed to be made. Remember that there is greater thing called Life than your job. People get into all sort of troubles, they get sick. People have families and they may get into issues, due to which employees could be forced to leave their jobs.
Life happens. We’re all humans with a story to tell. Surely there can’t be a super employee without having any kind of drawbacks. But, gaps in employment are a huge red flag to recruiters. For recruiters gaps in employment, mean that person wasn’t good enough to be employed. It can mean many things to a recruiter not being competent enough, not having the sincerity and regularity. Having Resume gaps is highly considered bad and keeps job seekers out of a hiring contention. Because recruiters have to eliminate few candidates out employment gaps can offer them a chance to weed them out.
When you are looking for a job, remember that typically recruiters look for a reason to eliminate people if there are many job applications received, One sure way to avoid it is to mind the employment gaps in your background. There are a couple of ways to do this. The employment gaps can be two types, small and long. If they are small gaps, typically, less than a year, just eliminate the months from your resume and only list the years of working.
Ok, but what if it isn’t unhidable? You have to do Damage Control. What you should do is control the narrative of your resume. For long gaps mention only your employment with companies and put up a separate section for your gaps.
To recruiters as well, employment gaps are a nightmare. Don’t give recruiters chance to assume negative reasons for your gap.Some of the assumptions recruiters make are –
- Fired for insubordination.
- Must have a bad reference if they have been out of work for this long.
- If they were any good they would have found a job.
- Tried to poison their boss
Mind the employment gap. Candidates need to tell the story that they want recruiters to hear. Otherwise you are bumped down into the 2nd tier of candidates or get ready to be totally rejected. Don’t just list a long term gap in your work history and think that It’s ok, and you’ll be able to explain it in an interview. Odds are you won’t get an interview with a long employment gap.
If you have something to explain such as a gap or a relocation or career change, you should always address it in a cover letter. But with latest technology automation, ATS, even recruiters are ignoring cover letters.
So got my advice? Put the explanation for the gap(s) on the resume.
Most times, your resume is your first and only chance to make an impression on a hiring manager. Think as If you only have one chance to explain yourself. List the reason for the gap on the resume. My suggestion is to list it chronologically on the resume as part of the work history. Because if you list it at the top, your first impression is to give prior indication to the recruiter that you have gaps in your employment history. If you list it separately at the bottom, chances are the recruiter will not even read it because you will have already been disqualified due to the gaps.
If you list it chronologically, the recruiter has a better chance of 1) reading and 2) comprehending. Your gap has a story…tell it. If you took care of a sick family member, its good to say that upfront. If you were sick, say that. If you left your job for one reason or another, disclose it.
If you list it on the resume
- The gap won’t be immediately noticed
- You might actually be understood.
And then be sure to put a small summary explaining the situation. No need to get too personal and detailed. Just let people know what’s up. One note about the “Decided To Change Careers” scenario. Yes I know it will be listed in the Education section, but to the lazy, scanning eye, the connection may not be made and it may still look like you were “just” unemployed at that time.
You know what happens when you are understood? You Are Remembered. Trust me, you want to stand out to those who review resumes. It matters.
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