How to Handle a Gap In Your Resume
Oct. 12, 2016
Circumstances beyond our control often intervene with the routine courses of our lives. That, of course, can have a direct effect on our health care career employment history, including periods in our lives where we could find ourselves unemployed for a time.
When it comes to how to handle a gap in one’s resume because of a lay-off or other period of unemployment, it pays to have at one time been a Boy Scout.
Be honest. And, be prepared.
Be honest when it comes to your health care career
“Do you know what will hurt your chances of getting a job more than a gap in your work resume?” asked Donnell Adair, Graduate Employment Specialist at Concorde’s campus in Portland, Ore. “Lying on your resume would.”
There are many reasons you might have a gap in your resume. Perhaps you are a stay-at-home parent. It might be because you were laid off or fired from your job. It could even be that you hated your job so much you quit to pursue something different. Now, you find yourself at the tail end of completing your health care career training at Concorde. You aren’t quite sure how to best represent yourself on your resume.
You’re in luck. Adair has some key points that will help.
- Format. Many people use a chronological resume, which lists your job history in reverse order, from most recent job to most distant. These resumes also generally include dates of employment. This puts you at a distinct disadvantage of bringing gaps in the resume to focus. To get past this, Adair suggests switching to a functional resume, which focuses on skills and certifications and puts more focus on your ability to work now.
- Volunteer experience. If you were out of work for that gap, there’s a good chance you did something productive in that time. Putting volunteer experience on your resume helps employers note how productive you are and could be to their company.
- Education & educational training. Many of you are attending Concorde to make a change to a health care career. Being very detailed about your clinical training and externship gives you a distinct advantage in showing that you are committed and prepared to work.
Be prepared when it comes to your health care career
“I always inform my graduates that if they have been out of their field or have not started that they hopefully have a good excuse, like being a stay-at-home mother, moving, school and so forth,” said Danielle Van der Knaap, Graduate Employment Specialist at Concorde’s campus in San Antonio, Texas. “Employers pay close attention to these details and want to know why you have been out. With confidence you should inform the employer of why you have a gap in your employment history, ensure you always give an honest answer and try not to lead too far into your personal life.”
Whatever the reason, if an employer asks about your gap, be brief and honest, but make an effort to explain your reason in the most understandable and positive way possible, said Reina Resnik, Senior Graduate Employment Specialist at Concorde’s campus in Miramar, Fla.
“Convey your enthusiasm for getting back to work and, of course, for the position and the company,” Resnik said.
“And, if you find yourself in an employment gap, keep in touch with your business contacts. You never know where your next job lead might come from.”