6 Ways To Market Yourself When You’ve Had A Career Gap



Mar. 29 2024, Published 8:00 a.m. ET

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If you’ve ever taken a significant break from work, you’ve most likely had a career gap. You’re not alone though! According to a survey conducted by Indeed Flex, a digital staffing platform, 68% of employees have experienced some type of work gap. It’s also completely normal. There are several reasons one might take a break from working— including motherhood, school, illness, divorce, caretaking, layoffs and many more.

In the same survey, 60% of individuals are finding it difficult to find full-time employment too. This, however, does not have to be the same scenario for you. In fact, there are several ways you can transform the job hunt into a positive experience for yourself. To help you along this new journey, we’ve put together six tips that will get your foot in the door and a new job on the way.

1. Keep conversations positive.

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Source: Pexels

When it comes to speaking about yourself to a recruiter or a hiring manager, it’s vital to not speak poorly about your employment timeline. If you’re talking negatively about a gap in your work history, then the person on the receiving end will likely receive it that way too. 

Instead, look at everything from a positive perspective. If you took a break due to caretaking responsibilities, for example, did it help improve skills such as empathy, planning, and communication? Use your unique experience to your advantage when discussing new opportunities and hiring members are more likely to be receptive to this information. 

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2. Invest time specific to your goals.

When it comes to achieving your goals, you’ll want to spend your time wisely to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your efforts. This can entail connecting with recruiters that specialize in your chosen industry. It can also include applying to jobs specifically within your field or attending industry-related events. If you make a routine effort, then you’ll be able to make steady progress on your ambitions. 

3. Reach out to your existing network.

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Source: Pexels

LinkedIn Business Solutions reported that the top way to find a new job is through a referral. It’s great practice to not only keep in touch with your network, but also to inform them that you’re ready to take on new employment opportunities. If you don’t make the conscious effort to build upon existing relationships, then you run the risk of missing out on potential openings down the line.

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4. Establish new connections.

If you’ve been out of the workforce for a while, it may also be beneficial to tap into meeting new people in your desired field. Make the effort to attend networking sessions or ask a recent LinkedIn connection to grab a coffee. One new connection has the potential to unlock new career opportunities.

5. Place your gap in the experience section of your resume.

Even if you weren’t getting paid, you can still include any relevant experiences you went through during that time. Whether you took a course to learn or elevate your skills or experienced a company layoff, there are several things one can still achieve even if they’re not within a place of employment. 

Plus, several large companies now offer work specific to those who have had a gap in their career. Dell Technologies, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanely, NBC Universal and more all offer paid return-to-work programs— so indicating a gap in your resume will benefit you when applying to them.

6. Look into part-time or freelance opportunities.

In the last couple of years, more workers have looked into part-time and contract work opportunities. According to The Center for American Progress, 28% of workers have reported that they have utilized self-employment work, 14.14% of which confirmed that this method has become their primary employment.

 While searching for full-time employment, seeking temporary work may also be a great way to assimilate back into the workforce and open the door for additional opportunities down the line.

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By: Taylor Bushey

A New Yorker turned Londoner, Taylor Bushey is a motivated business professional who has worn several career hats over the last few years. After leaving her most recent employment journey in the financial industry, she has re-engaged with her roots of writing, marketing, and content creation. She’s now a full-time freelance writer and content creator. Taylor covers lifestyle, careers, fashion, beauty, home, and wellness. Her work has been featured on CNN Underscored, Cosmopolitan, FinanceBuzz, Apartment Therapy, The Kitchn, and more. If she's not sipping an iced latte and writing away in a local coffee shop, she's most likely thrift shopping for a cool, rare find or planning out her next travel itinerary.

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