Whether you’ve pressed pause for personal reasons or are returning from a sabbatical, career gaps have become more common since the pandemic. The reason? Due to the widespread adoption of remote work and disruptions caused by lockdowns, many individuals have faced challenges in adapting to managing household responsibilities. Blurring boundaries between work-life balance can also cause temporary absences from work.
Moreover, economic instability and job market fluctuations have forced some to take intentional breaks to reassess their career goals, learn a new skill, or pursue personal development. Further, factors such as health concerns, caregiver responsibilities, and mental health have contributed to individuals taking temporary pauses in their careers.
As the workforce continues to bounce back and adjust to our new normal, career gaps are expected to remain a longstanding aspect of professional trajectories. What better time to explore how to put career breaks on a resume? In this article, we will highlight how to navigate the task.
Leverage your experience.
You must be intentional when explaining your career gap. While lounging on the couch streaming all 45 seasons of “Survivor” sounds intriguing, potential employers are more fascinated by how you spent your downtime preparing to return to work. Did you acquire a new skill? Did you learn a new language? Did you study abroad for a year? What lessons have you learned since your workplace break that prepared you for the new gig? Be clear and concise. State your intention (to return to work) with enthusiasm.
Life happens. Whether a gap is intentional or at no fault of your own, you should focus on the positive. If you have been on a break for some time, expand upon your noteworthy achievements and emphasize how excited you are to level up with a newfound perspective and clear goals. Hiring managers will better understand who you are and assess whether or not you’re a good fit for the company.
Avoid too much detail.
While being upfront with a potential employer about the reasoning behind a career gap is wise, it’s also important to highlight career gaps when necessary. For example, were you laid off in recent months? According to Indeed, unemployment for a period of six months or more is considered long term. That said, this may not be worth mentioning to an employer. In fact, it may raise a red flag about your unemployment.
Meanwhile, “If you were taking care of children or other family members, you can explain that you were performing unpaid caregiving duties,” Kevin Wu, CEO of Pathrise in San Francisco, California, told FOX Business.
Remember, your resume is the first opportunity you have to sell yourself. However, your resume will not get into the nitty-gritty regarding your career gaps. Be prepared to discuss, maybe in detail, an absence from the workplace during an in-person interview. Practice your responses by grabbing a family member or close friend to roleplay. If you follow the tips above, explaining your career gaps will be seamless.
The author’s content and opinions have not been pre-reviewed, approved or endorsed by Discover.