Bridging the unemployment gaps in your resume

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, many have found themselves facing periods of involuntary unemployment. Once the initial shock has settled it is time to start working on your strategy for how to best utilize your unemployment gap and how to best reflect it on your resume.

  1. Negotiate for gardening leave
    When negotiating your departure from your soon-to-be previous employer negotiate for a period of gardening leave as a part of your settlement. Gardening leave is a period between your last actual working day and your last day as an employee during which you remain on the company’s payroll, receiving your usual salary and benefits, but without doing any work. This helps cushion the initial shock of having lost your job, at the same time as an eventual gap in your resume becomes shorter.
  2.  Use your unemployment to prepare to return to work
    As soon as you know that you will have a period of unemployment start preparing for your return to work, and how you are going to present this in your resume, and consequently to potential employers and recruiters. You can do this by spending time earning professional certificates relevant to your line of work, taking continuing education courses, or doing contract work. By being professionally active while technically unemployed you will gain positive experiences that will help you fill unemployment gaps when writing your resume.
  3. Consider which jobs you need to include in your resume
    This is not an invitation to falsify your resume! However, your current resume may still include part-time jobs you did while in college, or short-term assignments shorter than 3 months. Unless any of these are directly relevant to your current career you can remove them from your resume to free up space for more recent/relevant experience.
  4. Try to disguise small gaps
    If you have small gaps in your resume which simply occurred because you were in-between jobs you can make them less visible by omitting the months and only listing years. This works best with small gaps of a few months between jobs lasting several years.
  5. Make the reason for unemployment its own job
    If you have a long gap of unemployment in your resume it helps to address them in the resume rather than leaving an open gap. You can overcome the gap by briefly including what you were doing during the time you were unemployed.

2020-2021                   Studied for and passed the USCPA exam

2008 – 2009                Full-time parent

Be honest
Once you have completed your resume it is time to present it to hiring managers and recruiters. Be prepared for questions, not just about your work experience but also about the gaps. Your counterpart is likely to have ample interviewing experience and will spot evasive answers to questions. Be open and honest, keeping your answers as positive and constructive as possible. If necessary book time with your recruiter to prepare for the interview.

 You are not alone
While it may come out of the blue and be a new experience to you personally, periods of unemployment are not uncommon and under most circumstances, it is nothing to be ashamed of. May lost their jobs for good reasons during the Lehman shock 2008-2009 as well as they do during the Covid-19 pandemic. You may be surprised to find out that the interviewers you meet in the course of your job search have experiences very similar to yours.





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