Will a lapse in your work history keep you out of work?
There have been a growing number of people that have been out of work for long periods of time that have had a great difficulty getting back into the workforce. It is no question that our American economy is not advantageous for the unemployed right now. As a recruiter, I see employees that are out of work either because of the economy or because of a personal situation such as having to take care of a parent or family member that is ill. In both of those scenarios, the candidate is not to blame. They were/are in a situation that they are unable to change, but at the same time have to deal with. I wanted to take the next few moments to offer some suggestions to those individuals that may be struggling to get back to work in a very competitive job market.
1) Get in front of a Tulsa recruiter
Now I know you may be thinking: Of course a recruiter would say that …….They are a recruiter and are obviously biased. First, please allow me to explain why I would recommend this course of action.
I particularly think that there is tremendous value in candidates who have decided to put their careers on hold for something that is admiral as well as those that are great employees and are victim to our economy. Some of my personal best recruits have been candidates who have taken time off to care for their children, or someone who has moved from one state to another and had a gap in employment while they were relocating. However, it is hard for someone to communicate that with a direct hire HR Representative. There are many times that they will simply not take the time to call and ask a candidate that has an obvious gap in their employment history when in fact, it was a very legitimate reason. A good recruiter can candidates because of his/her relationship with the employer and the trust that has been built over their past history working together.
2) List why you have been out of work in your cover letter or briefly on your resume
If you have been out of work for quite some time, it is very important that you communicate that with the perspective reader of your resume. You can do this by either mentioning it within your resume or your cover letter. If it is within your resume, it needs to be brief. You need to try to make it a one or two sentence explanation. However, there are obviously situations that are unable to be explained that briefly. In that case, I would recommend that you mention it with in your cover letter. Sometimes, that alone will urge me to investigate further with a phone call. Sometimes that is all that a recruiter needs to warrant an interview.
3) During the downtime keep up with your skills; and list it on your resume
One big mistake that we see regularly are individuals that had to take time off of work for personal reasons and they do not keep up with their field in the meantime. Example: CPA’s not renewing their license, LPN’s and RN’s that let their license lapse. If you fall into a category where your license is very important to your career, always make sure and keep up with the continuing education to keep your license active. This not only helps you keep up with your field, but you can also list these efforts on your resume helping to close the gap in your employment with something involved in your field. This will be very helpful to you and will help you look much more polished on your resume.
I absolutely believe that there are some great candidates out there that have some pretty big gaps in their resumes. Hopefully if you are one of those people, this article helps give you some ideas on how you can improve your resume’s image and produce more activity in hiring managers wanting to speak with you. In the end, all you are looking for is ONE yes. I like to always advise all job seekers to forget about all of the NO’s you may hear. Focus on only the ONE yes that you need!
Article written by Trinity President Cory Minter