Career Advice for Job Seekers

Employers caring less about employment gaps

Steven Rothberg AvatarSteven Rothberg
December 17, 2020

By Amanda Augustine of TopResume

The good news is that, according to a recent hiring survey by TopResume, employers care less about employment gaps than they once did. In fact, when asked, “Do you now view candidates being unemployed and/or having an employment gap lasting more than three months as a red flag?” an astounding 87 percent were unfazed by a lengthy employment gap. 

While you’ll want to fill in the gap as best you can on your resume, don’t allow it to derail your job search. Start by looking at the dates of employment on your resume to determine if there’s a better way to represent your tenure while minimizing the perceived gap. For example, sometimes it looks better to include the month and year (versus just the year) when documenting your start date and end date for a position. Whichever format you choose for your most recent role, be sure to use that same date format for all of your other work experiences as well. A consistent format is key to a polished-looking resume. 

If you haven’t been attending school or volunteering while looking for work, there are some other “resume boosters” you can add into account for your time:

  • Think about the networking activities you’ve pursued as part of your job search. Have you joined a new group or become an active member of a professional organization as of late? If so, this information can be incorporated into your application materials and your interview responses. If not, consider joining one that will help you overcome the employment gap and aid your job-search efforts. 
  • Consider beginning work on an online certification or taking a free virtual class to demonstrate your commitment to professional development on your resume. 
  • Depending on the nature of your work, you may be able to offer your services to a friend or family member whose business could use the help; whether you get paid for this work or do it pro bono, you can still add it to your resume under your Work Experience section. 
  • Look for freelance or short-term employment to help pad your resume and bring in some cash. If these options don’t lend themselves to your line of work, don’t lose heart. Again, employers are not dwelling on these gaps or attaching the same stigma to these as they once had. 

Just because you didn’t pursue certain activities up to this point in your job search doesn’t mean you cannot do so now. Consider pursuing one of the options above over the next several weeks to give your resume a boost before you ring in the new year.

Amanda Augustine is a career expert for TopResume, a resume-writing service based in New York and a partner of College Recruiter

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