A common concern for job-seekers is filling in gaps in employment on the resume. After all, sometimes job searches hit a lull and job-seekers end up out of work for longer than they’d like. In these cases, it’s a good idea to consider ways that employment gaps can be filled. Otherwise, lengthy gaps in employment history can raise red flags for potential employers. If you’re currently out of work but want to keep the resume looking fresh, consider the following tips for filling employment gaps:
Volunteer. While any type of volunteer work is better than doing nothing at all during a gap in employment, try to focus your volunteer efforts on your desired job field. For example, if you’re an accounting professional, volunteer to help a local non-profit with their budget. That way, though your work is unpaid, it’s still relevant to the types of jobs you’re seeking.
Temp work. Many job-seekers make the mistake of avoiding temporary work, reasoning that they’re looking for a permanent opportunity. This is a crucial mistake for two important reasons: first, temporary work sometimes has the possibility of ultimately turning into a long-term opportunity. Secondly, temporary work is a legitimate way to bridge the gap between permanent positions. Any hiring manager would rather see a series of temp jobs– preferably related to your desired field– than a months-long gap in employment.
Take some classes. Maybe the feedback that you’ve gotten from potential employers is that you’re lacking the software knowledge necessary for the role or that your skills are otherwise not up-to-date. A gap in employment is a perfect time to take some classes at your local community college to update your skills. An added bonus is if the classes result in a new certification or degree to add to your resume. If you’re not up for an entire semester worth of classes, consider looking into some training courses offered in your field.
Stay on top of the latest developments. Being out of work is not a good reason to become out of touch with industry trends and development. In order to stay on top of the latest developments, consider getting a subscription to a publication or magazine that covers industry improvements and trends. Additionally, be sure to frequent your LinkedIn industry-related groups and stay abreast of relevant conversations.
Think outside of the box. Are you thinking too narrowly in terms of your job search? Maybe you ultimately want an in-office accounting job, but what could you do in the meantime? Some job-seekers have found success– and a paycheck– by working as a consultant. Others have bridged the gap in employment through freelance writing or speaking gigs on industry-related topics. Simply put: don’t limit yourself to what you’ve done in the past. Be open to new opportunities.
Be honest. When it comes to gaps in your employment history, honesty really is the best policy. Trying to cover up gaps or avoid discussing them altogether only complicates matters. For example, if you’ve been a stay-at-home parent to your children for the last couple of years, say so upfront. Alternatively, if you’ve been a full-time caregiver to a sick or aging relative, disclose that information too. One piece of advice to keep in mind, however: it’s wise to emphasize that you’re unlikely to find yourself in that position again and you’re ready to commit to full-time employment.
If you’re in the market for an accounting job, contact us today. We are a boutique staffing firm in the San Diego area specializing in accounting, financial, and administrative opportunities. We would welcome the opportunity to help you find the right match for your skills and experience.