Employment Gaps No Longer Career Killer

In the 20th century, employment gaps in your job history could be a career killer. Then came the economic volatility following 9/11. No sooner did the professional world recover from that, then came The Great Recession. As the economy climbs out of that dark hole, the new normal has become uncertainty and upheaval in just about every industry.

Consequently, the gaps don't get you automatically knocked out of the box in a job search. However, you are expected to be prepared to address them, reports Kelly Eggers in Fins.com. The trick is to make your explanation create value for you during the interview process.

Therefore, you should develop a strategic plan for how to position and package what you did, why you did it, and what benefit you derived when out of the work force. The benefit should translate into an edge you're bringing to employers.

In the Fins.com article, career coach Roy Cohen recommends to frame the gap as a mixed bag, not just a monolith. That opens the door for you to present the period of time as a platform for any number of activities that you show enhance your usefulness to employers. Those might include travel to Russia, a market the company wants to penetrate; fundraising for breast cancer research which relates to the company's product lines for women; and developing a Web business, a plus since the company is involved with social media.

All this reinforces the wisdom of the adage that it isn't what happens to you but how you handle it. Gaps can be transformed into sources of added value.

Next: How to Address Gaps in Work History and Other Confusing Chronologies

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RobertRob

Idiots, DO YOUR RESEARCH AND LEARN INSTEAD OF JUST RUNNING YOUR MOUTHS! You are ignorant to think that China doesnt have nukes and you are ignorant to believe that a trade embargo would hurt them in the sense that they would starve, you have to remember they are communists and the communist economy, albeit crappy will still provide for its people in the event of something like an embargo. All said and done, I would agree that if the united states, japan and korea did stop buying from china it would screw US, everything in the world is made there< look at your computer or the phone or whatever it is that you are using that you are reading this post on, nearly every componant is made and assembled in china and then shipped here, we dont make anything anymore, and dont be so ignorant to think that we do. Could we survive without trade with china? probably, would it be a horrible technological downturn for us? YES, War is where this is heading and people should be prepared

OK Lets See here.
All you people driving your Cars made in Japan,Korea,ETC ETC.
All The Corporations sending over seas to Japan,China,India,Koria ETC ETC, for the last 20 years where did you so called Americans think this situation was going to end HUH!!
The industrial revolution has ben a carbon based thing eccept the Internet & Computers.

Why not try this get Congress to help open about 12 US Steel mills.
Get NAPA,Advanced Auto Parts,ETC ETC to make all the parts here in the good old (US of A)
Hello people Wallmart,K Mart, Sears, ETC ETC help get Plastics, Steel,& any thing they can think of made here again.
Problem solved Americans working Taxes Being paid Government working 4 the people again.
Just think keep the unions outta the Steel Industry I bet all the old people who R going to be forced to work till they drop would B glad to at least die making goods here in America hell I would.
Just send this E Mail to every hard working American U Know & mayb even a congressmen or women mayb they will try this out.
If every one was aboard I bet the US could turn this problem around in TWO YEARS I BET if it becam the Law of the Land.

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December 08 2010 at 7:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Robin

I don't think thats true, I lost a good opportunity because there were gaps where i was unemployed, and I explained that, but they still wouldn't consider me even tho I had the experience and qualifications for the position, they wouldn't even give me a chance.

December 08 2010 at 5:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Geo.

I would hope that all employers would understand the difficulty highly educated executives are having finding employment. The GAP issue is also an extremely sensitive and offensive line of questioning for millions!

December 08 2010 at 4:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
liguy

Employers have to realize that there are many people who have been out of work for upwards of two years. The plain truth is that there are too many people competing for too few jobs. Gaps in employment are unfortunately becoming the norm.

December 08 2010 at 2:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
tinacn

My personal experience is that employment gaps are industry dependent. If you work in a broadly distributed industry (banking, telecom, health care, sales, retail), job gaps seem to be a bigger problem than they are for "niche" industries like semiconductor manufacturing, tool and die work, or similar jobs that require very specific skills. I was in semiconductors for 20+ years, and got tired of having to relocate every 5 or 6 years to keep a job due to plant closings or "workforce reductions". It would take a year on average to land another job once you lost one, so gaps were almost expected on your resume. But you do have to explain them beyond "I was looking for a job during that time"

December 08 2010 at 2:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
watdafuk

They matter less because there are no jobs to be had.

December 08 2010 at 10:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Peter

If one sees a resume as a propaganda document - as truthful as the law allows, but definitely slanted towards the intended goal - employment gaps maybe incorporated into it with careful language using positive terms. The reader will then see that an applicant is aware of the need for an explanation and is not trying to avoid one. Further to this, a resume should be written directly to the job in question. The days of a one-size-fits-all document are long gone. In all cases, what you put on paper must be 100% truthful and verifiable beyond a shadow of a doubt. Employers will and do check most everything these days.

And, a resume is only one part of the process - the cover letter is also critical. That should be brief, specific and incorporate the terms that the employer needs. In many cases both these documents are scanned for such terms - keep in mind that there will be thousands of resumes and cover letters for about any decent job. If you do not make that first cut, you will go nowhere.

Lastly, this is only the means to an interview - and if you get one, its utility is finished. How you behave in that interview will be the key to your eventual success or failure.

December 08 2010 at 8:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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