Especially in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, gaps in employment are exceedingly common. That said, it’s still important to prepare to explain them to prospective employers as early in the application process as your resume and cover letter submission. Behavioral Health Jobs has put together some foundational tips for how to talk about gaps in employment. For information on popular behavioral health jobs in your area, call [Direct], reach out online, or peruse our quality job postings resources.
Tips and Tricks for Explaining Gaps in Your Resume
Career gaps can happen for any number of good reasons. These include taking care of a child or elderly relative, being laid off, relocating, pursuing education or a certification, or taking a medical leave. First, decide whether you need to include the gap in your written materials. If it occurred a long time ago, you might simply not list the jobs surrounding it on your resume. Typically, it’s best to focus on more recent experience anyway.
You may also be able to camouflage a gap of less than a year by simply listing jobs by years rather than months and years. Alternatively, a functional resume format, which focuses on skills more than experiences, may do the trick. If you do need to address a gap, however, here are a few tips:
- Be honest and forthcoming: There’s no advantage in hiding or apologizing for your life story. Focus on the positive and address potential employers’ curiosity as just that, curiosity. Typically, employers simply want to know what the gap represents to you and be assured that it won’t impede your success in your new job.
- Be succinct: A career gap should not be the star of your resume, cover letter, or interview. Remember that your main thrust should be selling your strengths, not explaining away experience deficits. If you’re nervous about discussing a career gap in person, practice aloud before an interview. Work to get explanations into their shortest form without seeming unforthcoming.
- Be positive: What did you learn during your career gap? Did you pursue any educational endeavors? Did you develop soft skills that make you a better employee? What new perspective or outlook did you gain? Did you do freelance or volunteer work that’s relevant to your field and worth describing in depth?
If you are currently experiencing a gap in employment, it is important to view this time as an opportunity to develop your marketable skills and be proactive about your job search.
Being Proactive About Developing Marketable Skills
If you’re currently in a career gap, here are a few more tips for optimizing this time for your future self:
- Pursue professional development of some kind: Many certifications can be earned online. Spend some time researching your field, then add a new skill or two to your resume while you await your next big opportunity.
- Take advantage of free resources: While professional certifications or classes may not be free, many learning opportunities are. Explore job search platforms and professional networking websites for a host of free or low-cost training and video tutorials to complete on your own.
- Build your professional network: Stay active on professional networking sites and stay up to speed on developments in your field or future field. You may be surprised how your connections can help put you in touch with just the person you need to know to land your next role when you’re ready.
- Embrace the contract or freelance economy: Especially since the beginning of the pandemic, freelance and contract work are increasingly common. Many people, in fact, have come to find this more flexible work style preferable to the traditional 9-to-5. To keep your skills sharp or break into a new high-demand field, take on a side hustle.
- Volunteer: Not only does doing good for others help those in need, release endorphins, and build self-esteem, but it also gives you something impressive to put on your resume. Whether your volunteer work is directly related to your field or not, at the very least, you are probably building soft skills like empathy and communication. These will only help you later on when you’re in a position to be hired.
Being proactive when it comes to securing employment and developing your skills are the best things you can do for yourself and your career. For more advice or to view open positions in behavioral healthcare near you, visit the Behavioral Health Jobs website.
Find Opportunities in Your Location Through Behavioral Health Jobs Today
If you’d like help navigating the behavioral health job market, contact Behavioral Health Jobs today. Our knowledgeable team is standing by at [Direct] or online to assist you. In the meantime, check out our jobs postings board for stellar opportunities in your area.