Career Break - Gap in your Resume?

Career Break - Gap in your Resume?

 The thought of returning to work after a career break can be daunting and I am constantly asked what to do about a gap on a resume? Some of the biggest concerns people have are how to deal with being asked about it, and whether they should ignore it.

The answer is very simply, no, don’t ignore it. Turn it to your advantage.

If you have a gap of more than a few months, it is important you include it in your resume.  At interviews, you discuss this time off with your potential employer. If you’re struggling with the idea of explaining the gap in your resume, here are a few tips on how to identify the opportunities from your time off.

Highlight your skills

Did you go travelling around the world? Or perhaps, took time off to raise a family? Write this experience down like any other form of employment. Maybe you learned how to deal with extreme stress in an unfamiliar situation, or learnt how to create and manage a complex schedule, which has bolstered your time management and multi-tasking abilities.  

Align your skills with the job requirements

Make a list of your competencies and skills developed while on your break. Be careful not to disregard the importance of communication skills if you’ve been travelling, or even writing skills if you started a new blog. Every experience can be used as an opportunity to gain competencies. Align these skills and competencies with the job requirements to increase your employability.     

Sell your experience

You took the time for a reason. Give the employer a chance to understand why you took this time, and sell the experience. Be honest in your approach as this is what your future employers look for in your capability. Link your experience back to the job you are applying for, and demonstrate how you can build on the skills developed during this period.

Showcase the positive in your experience

Selling the experience is essential to selling yourself, and you need to make sure you highlight the positive aspects. Showcase what you learned, activities you participated in, and the knowledge you gained and apply this to the jobs you are interested in.  Employers will look favourably at your approach if you explain the gap in your resume as a positive experience, and link it back to your future employment. 

Examples

Career Break               June 2016 to March 2017                   Traveling the world

Spent time travelling in Asia during which I increased skills in:

  • Complex planning and project management
  • Communication skills with foreigners

Career Break               May 2004 to April 2017           Raising a Family

During my career break, I studied and was certified in bookkeeping.

With three children under the age of 6, I gained new skills in:

  • Complex multitasking
  • Developing budgets for self and friends 
  • Creating a group of mothers and taught budgeting skills

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Tags: Resume Career Break

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