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How to Fill in Employment Gaps in Your Resume

May 22, 2018 - Posted to Resume Tips

Content employment gaps

If you’ve been out of work for more than a few months, you might wonder how to account for this time on your resume. If you’ve ever heard of the “unemployment bias,” you know that many employers prefer to hire people who have been continuously working. One reason is that they assume someone with a job probably has the current skills needed to pick up a position at a different company. If it’s getting to the point where you’ve been searching for more than four or five months, it’s time to start filling in that gap. Here are some ideas for getting your foot back in the game, which allows you to patch up holes in your resume and, in some cases, continue to bring in an income.

Become a Contractor or Freelancer

If nobody has hired you to work in their company, why not go to work for yourself? Depending on what type of experience you have, you might be able to freelance, contract on a project for another company, or even become a consultant.

Keep in mind that contracting isn’t as simple as hanging a figurative “open” sign on your door; you will need to learn how to manage your clients and keep track of your accounting. It’s less complicated if you’re working on just one project (or one project at a time), but even then, you’ll get a 1099 tax form at the end of the year, so be sure to keep track of your expenses, mileage, and other potential deductions.

Freelancing might even take on a life of its own: Many people get a taste of entrepreneurism and don’t look back. Even if it’s not your cup of tea, however, you’ll be able to fill in that gap in your resume and use it to get hired.

Try Temporary Work

Temping can be similar to freelancing in that you aren’t an employee of the company where you’re doing your work, but the benefit is that an agency or a platform represents you, keeps track of payments, and helps you find work. You can go the agency route or choose an on-demand staffing platform like Wonolo to help match you up with a temporary position that would be a good match for your skills.

This type of job can also end up turning into a permanent position. Even if it doesn’t, it will help you bring in an income and will keep your skills current and relevant.

Go Back to School

If you’re in the position to go back to school or get some additional training, now’s a great time to do so. Pursuing more education tells potential employers that you’re serious about keeping your skill set applicable and that you’re striving to better yourself. These are two qualities that most employers value!

Just remember not to overwhelm yourself; if you’re still job-hunting, think about whether you would be able to handle a full-time course load along with a job. If not, put the job-hunt on hold or keep your course load more manageable by taking just one or two courses at a time. You can even you do some learning in your own home via online learning platforms like Coursera and edX, or you choose online courses or graduate degrees for high demand fields, such as cybersecurity.  

Volunteer

If you’re not getting any hits on paid opportunities or you don’t need the income, a volunteer position might be exactly the answer you’ve been looking for. There are a countless number of nonprofits that might be able to use your skills. Look for an opportunity that is related to the type of position you’re trying to get, if possible. For example, if you are an accountant looking for a permanent position, volunteer to manage the books or act as treasurer for a local nonprofit who needs the help.

Having gaps in your resume is not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s usually necessary to be able to explain what you were doing during that time. Going back to school, volunteering, consulting, starting your own business, or working for a temp agency are all valid options that can pique the interest of a recruiter or potential employer.