Tackling the Nightmare known as Job Gaps

For several reasons, a job gap is a very common thing to find in the portfolio of job-seekers. Sometimes it’s because of choice- like meeting any medical exigency, or the parental leave, or many times because of being laid-off or fired. The extended period of being ‘jobless’ raises concern for the hiring managers and makes it a negative dent in your profile against those who have a continuous work history.

You are not alone!

For the job-gap, you might be terrified, but will be surprised to know that around 59% of the people have some kind of gap in their employment profile. The top reason is family-issues (for 48%), parental leave (for 18%) and 15% got a gap in jobs for medical emergencies. Other reasons like getting laid off have been faced by 37% of candidates and 16% of those having job-gaps were fired.

Why job-gaps have negative impacts:

In general, it’s an assumption that the career path, with time, will progress towards more productivity, higher responsibility, and greater authority. So it is expected that over time, you will keep on ascending your professional spheres.  And, if there is a gap in your profile, the recruiters consider it a negative factor, thinking you were not at par with the position requirements, or there is some other flaw in your capabilities. If the gap was due to personal circumstances then explaining the circumstances can help, but only if you get an interview. Other reasons like getting fired subconsciously imply that the candidate is not worthy of such a position, especially when you don’t have an effective explanation.

Explaining and Leveraging job-gap for your benefits:  

A job-gap has down effects but it is not insurmountable! With special tactics and preparation not only the effect can be mitigated but also it can be leveraged for your benefits. The first thing to embrace is no matter how much you try to hide the gap; the employer will get to know it. If you try too hard to cover, then you will land yourself into trouble.

Preparation is the key and the steps for it include:

1. Explain: Why there has been a gap

2. Value-Addition: The skills you picked up in time

3. Finish line: An explicit line emphasizing how that gap has been a boon for you!

But make sure that explanation is concise, pragmatic, and realistic; but never something extra-ordinary. Keep in mind that recruiters assess everything at first look and ask questions to examine your abilities. If you lie or manipulate things to cover something wrong, that will be immediately picked up by them.   

Other techniques are:

Resume Templates: As a resume is your first impression at the company for a particular position, special attention must be given to make it as impressive as possible. Instead of mediocre texts, it is always better to select an influential template, highlighting your key achievements in a better way. Emphasize more on what you can bring to the table.   

Presentational Skills:

In the majority of the cases, it’s not the job-gap that deters selection, but the culprit is a lack of confidence and inability to explain the reason. The way of presentation is much more important than the explanation itself, and for this reason, one must work on confidence-building, vocabulary, and ‘marketing’ oneself. In case of doubts or lack of confidence about the performance, it is prudential to seek special training regarding personality development and presentation skills.  

In general, a job-gap is considered to be a ‘flaw’ of your portfolio that needs to be addressed. With the aforementioned tips, you can easily explain the gap in your favor and also explain the benefits of hiring you for the position. If you can address the gap and explain your strongholds in relevance with the position requirement, then this ‘flaw’ fades without creating any problem.

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