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There are a number of reasons why it’s perfectly reasonable to have gaps in your employment. Sometimes, the best thing you can do for yourself is take some time away from work to focus on other areas of your life that need attention. It used to be an item that employers frowned on and now it is becoming more prevalent.
IIn a study conducted by LinkedIn, “To understand more about career breaks, we recently surveyed nearly 23,000 workers and more than 7,000 hiring managers and found that nearly two-thirds (62%) of employees have taken a break at some point in their professional career, and just over a third (35%), mostly women, would like to take a career break in the future.”
Be honest on the resume and when answering the question during the interview process that you are not disclosing uncomfortable private information. This may in turn be a bias from the interviewer depending on any negative information disclosed.
The gap of employment should be a short item on the resume to not have the reader focus on this area. These can be called a temporary personal leave or a sabbatical.
Here are some common reasons why people choose to take time off from work:
Family or medical emergency.
If you have childcare obligations, a sick family member, or even a serious illness of your own, you should be able to explain your situation in an interview. If the interviewer asks why your resume shows gaps in employment, tell them that there wasn’t any other choice at that time based on what was happening in your life.
Getting laid off.
If you have time off between jobs, it’s important to give a reason why. If you were laid off, this can be used as evidence that you handled a difficult situation well and with a positive attitude. However, if there is no obvious reason for the gap in employment (for example if it was due to your own choice), it will be harder for employers to see what makes you special.
Going back to school
- Going back to school can be a great way to advance your career and enhance your value as an employee. You’ll gain new skills and experience, which will likely make you more marketable in the job hunt.
- Don’t forget about networking opportunities! By attending classes, conferences, workshops and other events related to your field of study, you’ll meet other people who can help advance your career.
- A lot of people believe that taking time off from work is bad for their careers—but it can actually be beneficial if it’s done strategically in order to pursue something personally satisfying that ultimately makes them better employees by bringing new skills into their repertoire.
You have a disability that can’t be addressed in the workplace.
If you have a disability that can’t be addressed in the workplace, you may need to take time off. This might include:
- Taking time off to recover from an illness or injury
- Applying for benefits related to your disability
- Receiving medical treatment for your disability
- Physical therapy
You took time for personal growth and exploration.
Taking time off is often necessary when family members are sick or injured and need their loved ones’ support at home; but even if they recover quickly (or don’t), taking care of them may mean that it takes longer than expected before returning back into the workforce full-time. While most employers understand these situations, it is still important not only for yourself but also for employers looking at hiring someone like yourself in the future that any gaps on your resume due solely from caring for sick relatives were necessary—and not simply an excuse by someone who doesn’t enjoy working hard enough.
You took time for personal growth and exploration.
Taking time off to pursue your interests and explore new opportunities can be great for your career. For example, you might want to take some time off to travel in order to get your bearings and figure out what you really want out of life. If you do this, keep in mind that there are many ways that traveling can help improve your resume. You could also use this time to learn a new skill or hobby, such as swimming lessons or painting classes.
It is okay to have gaps in employment on your resume.
It is perfectly okay to have gaps in your employment history. In fact, it can actually be a good thing. If you’re worried that hiring managers will think less of you because they see years where you were unemployed, don’t worry. There are plenty of reasons why people take breaks from working—and they may even make you more qualified for the job than someone who worked steadily but never had any time off.
If this happens to be your situation, there are some ways you can present your gap in employment without worrying about it being seen as negative by potential employers. We would recommend adding different verbiage in the cover letter as relevant to the position that you are applying to. Here are some examples:
- “I took time off between jobs so that I could focus on professional development and improving my skill set. Since then, I’ve become an expert at [insert relevant skill].”
- “I was laid off during my last position due to the economy.”
It’s important to understand that there are many reasons why someone might have gaps in employment. If you’re looking for a job, it’s important to know that these gaps don’t necessarily mean anything negative about you as an applicant. It is also equally important on how this is conveyed on the cover letter and resume.
If you are not sure how to answer this question during an interview or write this on the resume or cover letter, we are here to help you. Contact us today for a customized quote.