If you’ve taken a break from your career to raise a family, care for a loved one, or for any other reason – and you’re now thinking of returning to the workforce – know that you’re not alone. A recent survey shows that 59 percent of all Americans have experienced employment gaps at some point. This trend has been especially prevalent in the wake of pandemic-induced cutbacks.
- Career gaps have become so common that LinkedIn has implemented a feature called Career Breaks. It allows users to present information on how and why they have been out of the workforce.
How to Talk About Employment Gaps
The key to addressing career breaks on your resume and in interviews and other conversations is to be positive. That’s what a job search boils down to: focusing on your best skills, strengths and experiences to show you’re the right fit for a position.
Never feel pressured to go into personal details when explaining your time away from work. Instead, show that your career break is just part of your narrative – and that you’re ready to hit the ground running if hired.
- Be upfront about your employment break. Hiring managers understand that things happen to change the course of a person’s career. Be prepared to explain yours and bridge the conversation into what makes you qualified for this job now. Employers appreciate and respect honesty; in fact, if there are any doubts about it, they will almost certainly eliminate a candidate from consideration.
- Don’t sell yourself short. Focus on what you’ve done to improve your skills or stay current during your break. Perhaps you took a class, did some volunteer work, or completed a certification. Included this information on your resume and cover letter, and weave it into your interview talking points.
- Consider a new resume format. The traditional chronological resume format may not be best at this point. If you’re concerned with non-linear work experience, start your resume with a Skills section that illustrates your relevant qualifications. For dates, consider using just years, versus years and months.
- Emphasize your transferable skills. These are skills that are a plus in any role or industry. They include such traits as communication, problem-solving, organization, teamwork, adaptability, resilience, emotional intelligence, project management, and attention to detail.
- Keep tried-and-true interview techniques in mind. Prepare ahead of time, be prompt, dress appropriately, have a list of questions of your own, and follow-up with a thank-you note to express your gratitude and reiterate why you’re a good fit for the job.
Regardless of where the past few years have taken you, the right job is closer than you think. PrideStaff Fresno can help you find it – and land it. Our job network is constantly in motion with exciting opportunities in full-time, temporary, and temp-to-hire roles. We offer career coaching services throughout your job search and serve industries including accounting and finance, administration, customer service, IT and more. Contact us today and let’s talk about your future.