As you may know, finding a job that's a good fit takes time, perseverance and hard work. If you've been out of work, whether it's due to a disability or another life event, confidently addressing any gaps in employment is key to moving forward in the job search process.
An employment gap is a period of months or years when you weren't employed. There are many reasons for gaps in employment. The goal in addressing a gap is to reassure an employer that you are ready and able to return to the workplace.
Consider the following tips:. It may be tempting to extend the length of time you were employed or add additional experience to cover a gap on your resume, but the consequences of doing that could be very negative. If the employer misinterprets the information, you could lose the opportunity for the interview or miss out on a job offer.
So, always be honest about gaps that lasted longer than a few months and happened recently. Non-sensitive topics such as travel, education, or volunteer work may be covered in your resume or cover letter. If you write a cover letter, use proactive and positive language when describing the gap. If you explain these gaps up front, an employer may be less likely to dismiss your resume.
Disability- or health-related gaps, are best explained during an interview to reduce the possibility of discrimination or needless concern by an employer about your ability to return to work.
To learn more about disclosing your disability, check out Disclosure: Your medical condition is nobody's business but your own, and those with whom you choose to share. For anyone who is employed, if you need to go on medical leave for any reason, you should work with the Human Resources department to take care of the arrangements, and follow their advice. Speaking from experience, it is better to face a job lose early in life as it will prepare you for the next job lose.
My first lay off came when I was in my 20s and I hated it at the time, I was very bitter, depressed, and despondent. It took months to cope with it even after I got my next job. When the next lay off occurred 10 years later I was able to deal with it much better because I had learned that it can happen to anyone, and I wasn't dumbstruck by it.
I bounced back quickly because I knew it wasn't the end of the world, or a judgement about me as a person. I had also learned that it is good to always keep your resume update, know what skills are needed in my industry, and have an emergency fund to pay the bills. I'm pushing 50 now, and some of my friends who are in different fields, have experienced their first lay off because of the down turn in the economy.
They don't know what to do and are going through everything I went through, including the depression, and I can see that they are having a much rougher time of it than I did.
They thought it would never happen to them, and were not emotionally or financially prepared it. Simply say you took time off to work on your personal hobbies. Turn it into a positive. I suggest tact instead of total forthcoming-ness in this case, because a there is no legal obligation to divulge your medical history; b during those two years you certainly worked on personal hobbies, correct? So focus on the positive things you did during those two years.
Every interview advice tells you to focus on positive stuff, not negative stuff. So simply apply that advice to this situation too. I think it is a HUGE mistake to reveal the nature of your illness. You mention it is a small industry and information like that tends to float in the air once it is out there. Don't for one minute believe that the people you interview with or work for are above gossip.
Questions Tags Users Badges Unanswered. How do I explain being unemployed for nearly two years due to untreated depression. Steven 1 5 8. But I don't think it's clear-cut, and in a tight job market it might be more important to prevent the auto-dismissal of candidates who might seem flawed "we've got hundreds more".
So I'm not sure I can answer that for you, but there might be related questions here already. I think this is a great answer. I see no upside to pointing it out.
If they want to know let them ask you in an interview. If they are going to disregard you for it chances are no excuse short of classified operation for god and country, is going to save you. Has he been unable to find a job in all that time why? If the latter, I don't really care if he's been attending to a medical issue, doing missionary work in the third world, traveling, or whatever. And if the gap is because he's been doing self-study to improve his skills, I certainly want to know that positive info.
I do know that lots of companies ask for gaps to be explained; this is normal in my experience on both sides of the interview table, and no candidate should be surprised by it. Both participants will ask the questions they feel relevant; to claim that one side gets to decide what the other may ask if legal is not realistic.
Your speculations about potential discrimination don't match up with my actual experience. Anyway, feel free to offer your own answer to this question. That's about how long it was for a friend of mine. Below are a few options I have thought of that you could use if you are asked: Full disclosure Tell your inteviewer that you were suffering depression and unable to work.
Partial disclosure, medical reasons Pretty much the same as above, except don't state your specific condition.
Partial disclosure, freelancing As you've already said, you might just say you were freelancing. Recommendations If your main interest is getting a job to get back into the work force, I do not believe any single answer here is the "best" to use in all circumstances. Plus one for mentioning age. Gaps in employment matter less when you still have more work experience than the vast majority of your peers.
But how do they know I'm a peer? I mean, they can't see my age in my resume or cover letter, and I look much older than I am. He notes 2 years experience and no degree Some places won't even consider hiring the OP without a college degree; others will prefer the work experience. Steven While you say you can't explicitly state your age, you can get it across in loads of other ways, there must be dates in your resume from when you were at school etc.
Your cover letter should serve as a primer for your functional resume. It should emphasize your strengths. The fact is that hiring managers really only care about how your abilities and character can benefit their companies. Before even attempting to use your cover letter to explain work gaps, be sure that you understand what your cover letter is designed to accomplish. With that in mind, try to de-emphasize small gaps, and quickly explain larger periods away from the workplace.
How you do that will likely depend upon the reason for the gap, and what you accomplished in your time off. Here are two examples of the types of explanations that might be useful for your unique situation. In this situation you should mention the that you took time off to care for a child but also mention something productive you did that would help your career.
This could be taking additional courses or studying a relevant subject. You can even add relevant interests and activities from your time off. Here are some more useful cover letter tips for maternity leave.
We wrote a good post here on how to deal with employments gaps on your resume due to a disability. Many ask how to deal with gaps on their resume regarding depression.
Just mention that you were dealing with an illness. You should be cognizant of the need to deal with work gaps, but not to the point where it paralyzes you and prevents you from focusing on the skills and positive attributes you bring to the table.
While companies of the past once hired and retained employees for life, that is a far less common occurrence today. Most workers today have career paths that include a variety of different jobs.
Still, there is a need to explain frequent gaps, and gaps that last for more than a few months. Explain them in a confident manner, and then get on with the more important task of selling your skill set to that employer! Good luck with your job search. Zipjob offers professional resume services that are guaranteed to land you more interviews.
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Disability-related employment gaps. How should you handle employment gaps caused by medical-related absences? "If there's a big gap (two or more years), it helps to have a filler," suggests Klare. But Klare advises against disclosing your disability on the resume or cover letter as the reason for the gap. "There are many ways to fill gaps," he says.
The Best Resume Format For Employment Gaps One of the best ways to deal with employment gaps is to make sure that you use the right resume format. In instances where you have a number of gaps, the functional resume is ideal. If you explain these gaps up front, an employer may be less likely to dismiss your resume. Disability- or health-related gaps, are best explained during an interview to reduce the possibility of discrimination or needless concern by an employer about your ability to return to work.
Candidates' resumes should reflect coursework in areas like rehabilitation therapy, occupational therapy, or special education. For more information on what it takes to be a Disability Support Worker, check out our complete Disability Support Worker Job Description. The sample resume shown below is a targeted resume for an experienced professional with a five-year unemployment gap who is seeking a project manager position. By carefully targeting resumes for specific jobs and situations, you can greatly improve your chances of getting noticed in the job market.