In a competitive job market, jobseekers are finding it more difficult to transition to new jobs immediately after ending their tenure with current jobs. It is quite normal for jobseekers to experience up to one year of unemployment before finding their next big break. In addition to having a quality resume that personally brands you, keep in mind that you also need to strategically address employment gaps. Before you update your resume, follow these tips that will help you put your best foot forward professionally with hiring managers.
- Your last job ended months ago, now what? First, take a step back and examine what you have been doing the last few months. Since you have marketable skills, chances are pretty good that you used those skills to help someone or advise someone using these skills. Did you informally help someone start a business, manage their finances, create marketing/advertising concepts, perform administrative/clerical duties, handle specific project management tasks etc.? Just because you didn’t physically earn a wage for providing your skills or knowledge to help people doesn’t mean this work is useless to you. The goal of a resume is to personally brand you while showcasing your talents and showing hiring managers what your skill set is. You can easily present any informal help you gave to friends, family, or colleagues using your professional skills as current consulting work. This shows hiring managers that you were still actively pursuing your career field—just from another perspective.
- Did you volunteer your time or services? Volunteer work or special causes that you are involved with can easily fill any employment gaps as well. You might have helped a local animal shelter with fundraising efforts, partnered with other volunteers in accomplishing missions/goals, managed special projects or events, or even participated in daily operational responsibilities like administrative, clerical, and phone communication tasks. All of these skills and volunteer services will be a great addition to your resume.
- Did you keep current with any blogs, books, magazines, or professional development seminars in your field? This is a great way to show hiring managers that even though you were not employed full time, you were still committed to keeping current with industry trends. Knowledge is power, so focus on your ability to leverage that knowledge in your desired field.
- Did you get involved with any special projects or initiatives that required your skills? A lot of jobseekers don’t think of special projects like overseeing a home or neighborhood renovation project, managing a community awareness initiative, promoting community relations, or negotiating competitive pricing for a service as noteworthy on a resume. Keep in mind, it is noteworthy if you are experiencing gaps in employment because it shows hiring managers that you continued to remain active and leverage your professional talents in another capacity.
So before you decide to update your resume, stop and think about what you have been doing since your last job ended. Evaluate what professional skills, talents, and knowledge you used. When it comes to addressing employment gaps, earning a wage is not the main criteria for determining what should be included in a resume. The professional skills, talents, and knowledge you gained in this capacity is what counts. When hiring managers see that you still had the initiative to actively pursue and utilize your professional talents, they will be more likely to overlook any gaps in your employment due to a stagnant job market.