How to Bridge the Gaps in Your Resume to Score Your Ideal Job
If you’re looking for environmental services jobs in San Diego, you may be worried about how to present employment gaps on your resume. Or if you should even admit to them.
With the United States suffering an unemployment of around 8% at the end of September, it is likely to be more difficult to land a job. You’ll need your resume to sell your skills and experience. But will your employment breaks wave goodbye to new opportunities in environmental services jobs?
The answer is that gaps in employment don’t have to harm your job search. The secret to ensure that they don’t is to explain them on your resume, so they are no longer the obstacle you believe them to be. Here we explain how to do this.
Should I Lie About Gaps in Employment?
Simple answer: never! Your employer will always find out eventually, whether that’s during the recruitment process or further down the line when you are employed. And what will that say about you? That you’re untrustworthy, and that you have something to hide. Alarm bells will start ringing, and red flags will be flapping in the wind.
Valid Reasons for Employment Gaps
You do not need to lie. Dealing with employment gaps is all about how you present them to the hiring organization. In fact, there are often very valid reasons for employment gaps. These include:
- Caring for a relative or child
- Medical or health issue
- Developing professional training or education
- You worked freelance/started a business
All these reasons are perfectly understandable, and acceptable to a recruiter. Some may even enhance your appeal to recruiters. So be upfront and clear from the off.
Should I Use Year Dates on My Employment History?
Some believe that you can hide employment gaps by qualifying your employed dates using only years (for example, 2014 to 2016). But you are at risk of covering up untruths, and hiring managers are starting to look out for this. Consequently, listing your employment using only years of employment can look suspicious.
It’s Better to Be Upfront
If you’ve had only one or two gaps in your employment history, then state them clearly. Put the time you were unemployed for, and the reason. For example:
Employment gap February 2016 – October 2016: Travel experience (Conservational Volunteer Program – Bali)
If you have many gaps, you’re safer to list all your employment history together, and declare your employment gaps in your cover letter instead. Then you’ve declared them, but left the focus on your resume on your skills and ability.
You’ve laid your cards on the table. You know you’ve got the skills and talent required for this environmental services job. You’ve been transparent on your resume, and justified employment gaps in your cover letter.
Now you must fire some reassurance their way. They won’t want to employ you if you’re going to up sticks and leave again in six months. So, reassure them that you’re ready to settle into a developing career with them and progress within the company.
For example, you had time off to deal with a health issue or family matter. This is now resolved and should cause no consequences for future employment. Keep your explanation concise – you want space on your resume to draw the reader’s eyes to your skills, experience, and ability.
Prepare for Your Interview
If the hiring manager wishes to delve a little deeper, they have the interview to do this.
Whatever you declare on your resume and cover letter, make sure you’re prepared to answer questions about them if you’re invited to interview. Hiring managers will want to ensure that your resume matches up to your reasoning, to eliminate any cause for concern.
Don’t Be Ashamed of Your Employment Gaps
Companies are cautious of employment gaps, as bad hires can cost them at least 30% of an employee’s first-year earnings. But if your reasons are justified (as they often are), and the stories match (and you’ve been honest and upfront about them), employers will look beyond these employment gaps and see you have excellent attributes for their environmental services.
This is the 21st century. The world spins fast, with redundancies, illnesses, bucket lists, and ladder climbing all thrown into the mix. Recruiters and managers appreciate the various reasons in people’s lives that cause them to step away from employment.
Their main concern is that you have the required skills and experience to perform well, and that employment gaps are not a sign of fear of hard work.
Your resume’s job is to get you an interview. It provides a snapshot of your skills and abilities. If you have gaps in your employment, be open and honest about these. Help the employer to focus on what really matters: the attributes that make you perfect for the environmental services role you are applying for.