Gap In Employment & Resume Gaps (The New Way For How To Explain Them)
In this post, I’m going to talk about addressing the circumstance of having gaps in your employment.
So stay tuned.
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The reason I wanted to write this post was that I know that a lot of people are really nervous about gaps in their resume.
They feel self-conscious about them. They feel like they don’t know how to address them OR talk about them.
They feel maybe a bit embarrassed about these gaps.
The gaps could be there for any reason, and I’ll talk about some of those reasons.
But really I want to talk about how to address them and what’s really important and why it’s really a problem for you and what you’re thinking about them and what you’re making those gaps mean.
Let’s begin, shall we?
There was a week where I had two clients, one, who had been at the same company for 10 years and he was embarrassed about that because he thought that that indicated that he hadn’t grown very much.
He thought, well I’ve been in the same place for 10 years, and this means that I have not grown very much. And he was of Indian descent, and he just said, no, no, no, in our culture that’s what that means.
It just means that you know you don’t grow if you stay in one place, you should be moving around.
So I found that very interesting.
Then, the very same week I had a client tell me, well, I’ve had like five different temporary jobs and this means that I can’t hold down a job, it means I’m not reliable, it means nobody wants me.
It means there’s a reason why I haven’t been able to stay in one place.
I find it very fascinating that two clients had exact opposite circumstances and they were both making them mean something very negative about their potential and their capability and their ability to move forward in their career.
First I want to tell you that those are both neutral circumstances.
Being at one company for 10 years or having switch five times or having worked for a year and then had a five-year gap and then work for another year, whatever it is, those are neutral circumstances.
And everything after that is your thought about what those circumstances mean for you and how you interpret that and the story around that, that is what’s actually going to dictate what your future looks like and how you talk about these circumstances in an interview if they come up.
There are lots of people who have worked and had large gaps in their employment, who have still landed their dream job on a permanent basis.
You’re probably not looking for that because you’re too concerned right now about your own gap and about how you’re going to address this question if it comes up for you.
Just know that it doesn’t have to be an issue and I’m going to explain in this post how you can think about it in a way where you can address it more confidently.
I’ve had many clients over the years and they’ve had gaps in their employment for many reasons.
Maybe one had to take care of his aging father with Alzheimer’s and he had a gap where he didn’t work.
I found another client who had a severe health scare, she had cancer, she overcame it and she couldn’t work for that time when she was going through treatment.
Lots of clients had their kids for example and haven’t been able to work during the time when they’ve been at home with their kids.
OR clients who have been let go and then had trouble finding work afterward and so they’ve got a gap for a few months there and they’re kind of paranoid that, oh that means people are not going to want me because I was let go and then I couldn’t find something.
The gap and the time that you didn’t work is just neutral and it doesn’t matter what the reason was, the reason is neutral as well.
A circumstance happened in your life, this caused you to not be working for a certain amount of time for whatever reason and that is a neutral circumstance, okay?
The next thing that happens is we layer it with a problem.
We make it a problem for us.
Like, oh if I work for five places people think I’m unreliable, people think that nobody wants me.
People think that I’m not going to be prioritizing my work because I was at home with my kids.
People think that I was not a reliable employee because I left to go take care of my dad.
People think, people think, right.
And while, you know, we can’t control what other people think, it’s completely not useful for you to be thinking that ahead of time before we even give people the chance to think anything.
Right now those are just thoughts in your head.
You haven’t even talked to anyone yet about it and you might say to me, oh, no, no, no, but I have, and this is what they said.
So, that’s because you were coming at it from a place of it was a problem and you’re embarrassed about it and you’re not sure how to talk about it.
OR whatever thoughts you were having about the circumstance wasn’t serving you.
It wasn’t working because of the way that you presented the situation you were feeling uneasy about it.
That’s what I want to show you is you thinking ahead of time that it’s a problem is what is contributing to making it a problem.
And that’s proven by the evidence that lots of people who have had kids have gone back to work without any problem.
Lots of people who have had five temp jobs have gotten a permanent full-time position, it hasn’t been a problem.
Lots of people who have taken care of their aging parents, taking time off for that, have gotten their dream jobs, it has not been a problem.
And so there’s evidence of all that as well, but we don’t see that because we’re focusing on the fact that, oh people think it’s a problem, and we’re fixating on the fact that what we think people are going to think.
And so we’re anticipating that they’re going to think this beforehand and so we’re nervous and self-conscious about talking about it.
So you think it’s a problem is the problem, okay.
I hope you’re following me here.
Because let me explain to you why.
It’s like if I say I want to get an electrician to come in and install, I had to do this the other day, having an electrician come in and install a fan, I wanted a ceiling fan and then he had to put in a switch to make it work.
I’m not going to care if he hadn’t been working for a while. I’m not going to care if he had to take care of his sick parents.
I’m not going to care if he fixed five other ceiling fans before mine.
I’m not going to care about any of that, all I care is that he can get it done for me and then it works and that I’m happy.
So I don’t care about any of those other things.
But if he came to me and he was all like, oh well, I don’t know if I’m going to be able to do it, I haven’t done it in like two years, I’m not really sure like, oh you might think I’m not capable because of this.
Like, I’m going to start to doubt him too, I’m going to be like, oh, are you sure you’re up for this?
But if he just came in with full confidence it’s like, oh yeah, it’s like riding a bike, I know how to do this, I went to school.
Yeah, tell me where it is, I’ll get it done for you.
I’m going to be like, great.
I’m not going to question it at all.
Hopefully, that illustrates that your mentality about your gaps in your resume is what is projecting onto the people that you’re speaking with, and that is the only thing that gets in the way, that’s the only thing that’s the problem.
Ask yourself, the gaps in your resume, whatever your specific circumstance, what are you making it mean?
Why do you think it’s a problem?
And all of the times that anyone has brought me any sort of gap that they were really convinced was a problem, we have reframed it.
So I’ll talk about a few of them.
My client had to take care of his aging father.
He’s a human, he’s compassionate.
He’s a loving human being who took care of his dad.
That is actually a positive thing.
We want people who care about other human beings.
Isn’t that nice that he wanted to take care of his dad, so he had to take some time off work.
He wasn’t putting himself first, he was taking care of his dad, he’s a human.
Lots of interviewers are human too, you might say.
They might have aging parents or sick family members, they would understand.
And if they don’t understand then really like, do we want to be working for a company that doesn’t understand that?
Not if you’re the person who did it.
Secondly, the woman who I coached who had cancer and she was in a hospital bed and she was going through chemo and radiation and she had to heal herself.
She had to get her body back into the position where she was strong enough to go back to work.
And then when she was strong enough to go back to work she was afraid that nobody was going to want her because she hadn’t been in the field she hadn’t been working for a long time.
And we were able to easily reframe that, I was able to show her how strong she actually was.
How she almost died and she came back and she is now ready to hit the ground running and how amazing of a story that is.
Many situations where we can reframe these stories into where you were thinking it was a negative, it’s actually positive, it’s actually an asset.
When you’re at work, and you’re doing something challenging, and you’ve got to keep going because you don’t want to give up on getting the task done, it’s actually very minimal and almost nothing compared to freaking fighting cancer and still being alive.
Just a couple of examples and those are extreme but you can use those to your advantage.
They’re not a detriment to you, they’re part of who you are, they’re part of what makes you stronger.
They’re part of what makes you a more valuable employee and a more valuable person.
And the person who started five different jobs in a short amount of time, you had to get up to speed.
You have to get up to speed every single one of those times, you have to learn a whole bunch of new things.
Even if you were only there for two or three months, imagine that learning, imagine all those breakthroughs that you had.
Imagine how much better you now are at getting up to speed in a new place.
How freaking beneficial is that to somebody?
You can get up to speed quickly because you’ve done it already five times.
And if you want a permanent full-time position then you just say, I would really like to stick to somewhere, you know, this is what I want, these situations were temporary.
We find the wording.
Whatever your job gap was, however long it was for, however many job gaps you have, whatever the reason, those things are not actually important.
All that’s important is how you feel about your job gap.
Why you are making it mean whatever it is you’re making it mean.
Why do you think it’s a problem for you.
And then once we clear all that out you are going to be unstoppable because it’s actually not a problem unless it’s a problem for you.
I hope that makes sense to you because I’ve seen it happen so many times where people come to me and they think something’s a problem and I’m like, it’s actually not.
This is what coaching is.
We figure these things out together so that you can go out there confidently and nail your interviews.
Show up confidently so that you don’t have to worry about your past being something that is going to impede you because it actually can always be turned into something that serves you no matter what it is.
There you have it.
I hope that this lesson was very helpful to you.
And no matter what the gaps were on your resume, it doesn’t actually have any bearing on what you’re capable of doing in the future, what you can do moving forward, your past is your past.
If you can focus on your past in a way that serves you, you can move forward in an even more powerful, even stronger way.
I’m a career mindset coach. I help with this stuff every single day. I’m very very good at it.
I can assure you that any roadblock you have I can help you get past it and achieve the result you want to be getting to.
If you’re interested in working with me, hit the link below, I have a free workshop, it’s called, Get a Better Job in 30 Days Even During a Pandemic.
Also, in this workshop:
- We’re going to go over the opportunities and how to get infinite opportunities, so you’ll never have to worry about where you are getting your next opportunity from.
- You going to find out how to crush your interviews and how to focus on what you can control to nail those interviews.
- Also, how to get a win no matter what, how to feel likeable, so whether they like you or they don’t, how you’re still going to feel intact, and how you’re still going to feel confident in yourself to keep going to ultimately get to your goal.
- We’re going to talk about mastering salary negotiations so that you can make the money that you want to make over the course of your lifetime. We’re talking five, ten years out, what is it that you want to be doing.
- You’re probably thinking pretty small right now if you’re like most people. I want to challenge you to think bigger.
- And the last thing we’re going to talk about setting up your promotion, so, the things you need to be focused on right now in order to get where you actually want to go.
If you’re interested in that, click the link below, you can get it immediately, you just have to enter your information, and It’ll be in your inbox.
Do you know one person who could benefit from the information in this post? If so, do your friend a favor and share this info with him/her.
And remember, the current system isn’t perfect, but you can outsmart it. I’m here to prove to you that you do have what it takes.
I’ll see you next time and I can’t wait!
In Work & Life
I’ve got your back
– XO Natalie