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Unemployed for awhile. How do you handle a break in your resume?

By balloonchaser ·
I have been unemployed for a couple of years. When I submit my resume, several recruiters dont want to talk to me because of the break. I had two offers withdrawn during this time period, one due to budget and another due to management shake up. Any ideas on how to address this break? I did self-study to keep my skills up and also started a photography business to help deal with the stress. Also, why do recruiters apparently think you forget everything when you dont work? any ideas on how to convince them to give me a chance?

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Fill the gap

by dawgit In reply to Unemployed for awhile. Ho ...

I've been writen(off) sick :-( for more than 1 1/2 years now, and I have no breaks or gaps in my resume. How? Easy, I'm never not doing something. (type A ;-) ) Devolop a project (keep it low budget naturaly) in your field. It could be something for the comunity, library, church, a non-profit. With a shortage of funds now days they will appreaciate it too (& will probably put it in writing also). Document everything you do for that, including research. Guess what? you're now not 'out-of-work', you're on a 'working sabbatical' and no holes in your resume. In fact it will probably look better. (showing recent, relevent experience. and comunity service too!) Try it, you have nothing to loose, & a lot to gain. -my 2 cents anyway. -d

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balls of steel

by o0o_eternal_vigilance_o0o In reply to Fill the gap

There is an age-old technique that worked for me when the truth got me nowhere.


--- Ren ---

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Casting a Good Light on the Past

by ThomGordon In reply to Fill the gap

So the problem is that you spent a couple of years searching instead of working and now the trick is to make it look like you were a busy beaver!

Lying is not really an option (because you will always get caught) so... 'Wordsmithing' to the rescue.

Tell the truth but craft everything you did during that period as real Work. Any volunteer work is fair game for sure. Even helping a neighbour fix his gate can be 'Infrastructure Consulting'. Helping a friend load software can be an 'Implementation Project'.

If you took any training during that period, that is certainly fair game. Also consider what you offered other participants. It could be 'Mentoring' or 'Training' on your part. If you recast your education into your historical section, the gap will vanish.

And who did you work for? Being self-employed as a consultant is certainly a valid option these days. And then you don't really have a gap. If you are asked why you aren't still consulting, you simply have to tell the truth - you simply couldn't make a go of it... duh!

But make sure that you are clear on what you learned and achieved during that period. In an interview you may be asked tricky questions. Try not to pause too long or stumble if you are asked for specifics about that period.

Remember, an interviewer really wants to know what you can do for them. One thing you did learn during your break was that you would really rather work. Make a list of all the other things. It is not a problem to admit you might have had a few months without gainful employment, particularly if you are self employed (a few months can be three years, right?)

Another approach: Rewrite your resume into a functional format. I redid my 30 year history into general periods, listing the many jobs without specific dates. Eg. 1993 to present; Job 1 (desc), Job2 (desc), etc. That way you may not need to dwell on how long you didn't have to report to an office. Also, I use full years rather than months. January is near the end of the year, right? You can be vague on precise dates and quickly pop back to some experience detail (try not to be too obvious).

Good luck

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Explain it in the interview

by Mark Miller In reply to Unemployed for awhile. Ho ...

I've been asked in interviews about gaps in my resume, and it turns out it's not hard to deal with, though you should be prepared to explain them before you get into the interview. Just explain generally what you were doing during the gaps. You don't have to get long winded about it.

I talked with a career counselor about this once, and I asked why employers do this. She said if you've been out of work for several months to a year, the employer is going to wonder if that was because you were in jail or something. Wow! That was a shock. I had no idea. So just fill in the gaps, explaining that you were doing something with your life. A post before me said put everything you've done in your resume. I would do that only if what I've done was relevant to the job. Otherwise I'd leave it out. Remember, your resume should be designed to get you the interview, not the job. You use the interview for that. Employers typically don't want to be bothered with a resume that contains information that's irrelevant to the position. They just want to make a quick scan to see if you might be a good match for the job. This may result in gaps. That's the reason I suggest explaining them in the interview, because an interviewer is going to have questions about them.

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resume gaps and jail...

by jay_el_72 In reply to Explain it in the intervi ...

85-90% of people in prison will be released and be your neighbors. I actually teach convicted felons prior to their release and it is an area we have to deal with in a big way. We use a functional instead of a chronological resume emphasizing their skills sets and experience but without the dates. We prepare them to talk about that in an interview. A good job / career is one thing that will immediately and in the long term affect recidivism and ultimately our tax burden. Every ex-offender we get gainfully employed pays in taxes effectively double, since they are paying in, and we are no longer paying out for them. It costs an average of $100,000 to lock one person back up and that is not counting the annual costs of incarceration.

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I also do

by zlitocook In reply to Unemployed for awhile. Ho ...

Work for non-for profit orgs. I have two listed and give names with phone numbers in case they want to talk with them. I also list online communities like TechRepublic and a few others I use as a feature in my resume. It shows that you are keeping up with technology and what is happing with the IT field. And do not forget about schooling, I have paid for three Certs myself. All do on line so it shows that I am using time out of work to good use. I will send you a copy of my resume if you like.

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This has worked for me too

by Sooz In reply to I also do

I have also taken on projects for friends, such as wiring their house and setting up a network. This shows a love for the field and a desire to be busy. You can also use them for references.

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Been there, done that

by briggch In reply to Unemployed for awhile. Ho ...

Having been unfortunate enough to have been in this situation, I know how tough it is. I was working in the tech sector and quit a job Sept. 1, 2001. NOT a good time to have quit a job in technology. Anyways, after looking for employment for 7+ months without success, I needed to get a job. Any job. I had interviewed for a help desk position late Feb. 2002 and told the job would be filled at the end of the month. After being assured that I was the leading candidate at the time, there was delay after delay in the position actually getting filled. I waited 1 month in hopes of the job becoming available. Still more delays until I finally just had to find any job. I finally did get a job, although not in the tech sector, and 1 month after I started the new job, I got the call and was offered the position. I was having fun at the new job I had and politely turned down offer. That was a HUGE mistake. To make a long story short, after being out of technology for 1.5 years, I basically had to rebuild my career from scratch. I had a degree, certifications, and 17 years of experience, but NOBODY was willing to take a chance with me. I re-entered the tech sector at ground zero, making $10/hr. I have slowly been working my way up, now making twice that.

You need to really decide if tech is where you want to be, and if it is, be more receptive to taking positions at a lower level with growth potential or perpetually wait for that home-run job.

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In that same position myself rightnow

by DanLM In reply to Been there, done that

I relocated to remarry, and retired from my previous position. I thought with my experience that I wouldn't have a problem getting a new job. Yea, aww well. 9 months later, still no job. I've taken not tech jobs just to live, have to eat.
I am to the point I'm ready to give up on getting another tech job, but haven't yet. I have kept myself involved in tech issues, by doing various small projects of my own. I can point to an open source module found on sourceforge.orr as proof of this. Actualy, I feel this module shows that I have expanded my experience in different areas then what is shown through my resume in work experience.
The sugestion of charity work is a good one. I am new to this area that I live in now, so am unsure how or where to contact people on this. But, just doing charity work will accomplish a couple different things. 1). Make you feel better about yourself. 2). Expand your contact list. 3). Strengthin your resume.
Good luck, and I hope your luck changes soon.


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B.T.D.T. as well...

by Bassplayer and Drummer In reply to Been there, done that

I was laid off from my network engineering position in June of 2002 (and 2 months before my wedding). After sending out over 300 resumes and chasing down countless leads, I got nowhere. As I had to do something to keep busy and pay the bills, I also was looking to avoid a huge gaping hole in my employment history, so I went into the only industry that was readily hiring at the time: Real Estate Appraisals. I did that for a year (including taking the courses and getting my apprentice/trainee license), all while continuing to send out resumes to apply for positions in IT. when the appraisals tooks a sudden nosedive (interest rates started to climb again), I reluctantly accepted an offer as a field technician with a small company that installs wireless PTP solutions. While the technical aspect was only about 5% of the job, I made that into 100% of the job description on my resume so that the brief six months I spent there (in **** I might add) closed the gap for me in presenting my up-to-date skills.

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