Very few of us will go through our entire careers without having some sort of break in our work history. Yet, despite how common these gaps are, these lapses can signify a red flag on the resume and could potentially hinder your chances of landing interviews. These gaps can (and should) be explained during the interview process, but they should not prevent you from being considered. Below are several ways that you can minimize the appearance – and significance – of gaps in your own resume.
Explore volunteer opportunities:
If you recently left a position, you may be feeling the stress of finding a new career. In this scenario, taking on unpaid work may seem like an unnecessary distraction from your job hunt. However, volunteer work can allow you to continue to develop skills and create new connections in your industry of interest. To find volunteer opportunities in your area, visit the following resources:
Volunteer Match provides useful filters featuring that allow you to search your areas of interest and identify opportunities you can contribute to in a hands-on or remote capacity.
Serve.gov falls under the umbrella of Corporation for National & Community Service. Here, you can research thousands of organizations nationwide and find volunteering opportunities that suit your interests.
Though Idealist primarily serves as a job board, this database also allows you to search nonprofit volunteer opportunities.
Founded in 1860, The Boys & Girls Clubs of America have been empowering youth for decades, and is a great way to become involved in your community.
Pursue contract work:
When you expect a professional break to last more than a few months – perhaps because you’re caring for a family member, raising a child, travelling or launching a side business, project-based roles can help keep your resume up-to-date and show your continued professional trajectory. One great way to land a contract role is through past employers. If you’re preparing to take a break from your 9-5, consider reaching out to current and recent employers to learn about potential remote, part-time and contractual opportunities.
Another great option is to explore the freelance job boards. Here are some of the most popular sites for contractors:
Requiring 15+ years of experience in either marketing or finance, the caliber of candidates and projects sets the The Second Shift apart from other freelancing job boards.
Upwork is among the most accessible freelancing sites, as it accepts individuals from all experience levels and industries.
A paid flex work job site, FlexJobs provides access to thousands of remote career opportunities with purchase of monthly, quarterly, and yearly memberships.
Sign up for a certification course:
If you left the workforce unwillingly, it can be hard to perceive your unemployment as a blessing. That being said, there is a lot to be gained from stepping out of a full-time obligation. During this period, it’s important for you to keep developing new skills and exploring prospective career opportunities. Returning to school, taking online courses, or teaching yourself new skills are all great ways to increase your marketability and bring more value to future employers.
It’s never easy to jump back into the career world after an absence, but by exploring new avenues, you can show prospective employers how committed you are to you career development and that you’re invested in your own success.
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