Here’s a common problem for today’s job seekers: You got laid off some time ago when the economy tanked. Now, the job market is looking better, but your resume has a glaring gap on it. What can you do about it?
While an employment gap can be troublesome, it doesn’t have to be a liability. A CareerBuilder survey found that 85 percent of hiring managers are more understanding of gaps now than they were pre-recession. There are things you can do to make yourself more marketable. Here are a few tips on dealing with a resume gap:
1. Address it head on
In your cover letter, briefly touch on the gap, but save further discussion for a conversation. “You don’t want to write a novel,” says career coach Hallie Crawford told Forbes. “Mention it briefly, and then elaborate in person.”
2. Rework your resume
While you never want to lie about your employment history, you can play down the gap and play up your experience. Resumes don’t have to be chronological, so experiment with different formats. Try a section at the top for your biggest accomplishments.
3. Stay active during the gap
Hiring managers look carefully at how unemployed applicants spent their time. In the CareerBuilder survey, they recommended taking a class or going back to school, volunteering, or temping. Honing skills shows that you’re proactive and determined — qualities that prospective employers like.