How Relevant Are Gaps in Employment on a Resume?

Are resume gaps still relevant in this job market? Find out how businesses are looking at extended time off between jobs.

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How Relevant Are Gaps in Employment on a Resume?

Here's what you need to know:

  • A survey showed that 59% of Americans have had some sort of gap in their career
  • Organizations are less concerned about job gaps than other factors such as skills and experience
  • However, frequent job-hopping may be a problem
  • Work-life balance is among the top priorities for job seekers and employers alike, and this has helped create a more open and understanding work environment for many companies
  • Hiring managers that have a structured, optimized interview process get the best results when it comes to finding the right candidates for jobs

There are many different reasons for a person having gaps in their resume. A survey showed that 59% of Americans have had some sort of gap in their career. These can include several circumstances, including:

  • Family-related reasons
  • Needing a break
  • Getting laid off
  • Getting fired
  • Going back to school
  • Starting a business
  • Building a network
  • Freelancing

Having gaps in a professional resume gives job seekers a different level of anxiety. They’ve already been without work for a while for whatever reason. Now they must explain to potential employers what they went through.

A negative view of resume gaps creates the notion that workers aren’t synonymous with human beings. Contrarily, workers deserve breaks and may require time to get back on their feet.

As it turns out, organizations are less concerned about job gaps. In fact, 49% of survey respondents said that resume gaps are of lesser importance considering the current state of the market.

Ditching the old way of thinking about employment gaps

Gaps in employment aren’t as relevant as the stigma makes them seem. For many people, a resume gap could have been spent on personal growth.

It’s sometimes considered an exciting time filled with repositioning or passion-seeking. These factors do not correlate with a person’s skill set.

A gap in employment could allude to professional development. Many people take this time to pursue career training or participate in internships.

For many businesses, it’s not the gap that matters — it’s what a person does with it. These kinds of gaps appear more positive to recruiters.

In fact, 79% of hiring managers say they’ll still hire a candidate with a career gap.

In fact, 79% of hiring managers say they’ll still hire a candidate with a career gap. This tells other businesses that the stigma is fading with time.

The same attitude exists regarding other business aspects before the pandemic. It’s perfectly understandable for career gaps to have been because of COVID-19.

The hiring outlook is surprisingly positive. Thousands of Americans are looking for jobs, and companies are obliging.

Businesses are continuously finding ways to perfect their businesses for more employees. Optimizing their workspaces and best practices have become the new norm for businesses looking for more talent.

Work-life balance is among the top priorities for job seekers and employers alike. This has helped create a more open and understanding work environment for many companies.

How should job candidates explain resume gaps?

Many candidates with resume gaps are looking for the best ways to explain their time off. They want to look favorable to recruiters without divulging too much useless information. They’re apprehensively updating their resumes to highlight their skills for job roles.

If their gaps are short enough, they may choose not to provide this information at all. Brief unemployment can be creatively explained in an honest manner to look more appealing to recruiters. This could look like:

  • Detailed descriptions of the times and reasons for the gaps
  • Explaining the new skills learned or certifications received
  • Brief explanations (used more often when the gap isn’t related to skill relevance)

Honestly, sharing this information is a better way to solidify the perspective of being a trustworthy candidate. Having an optimized recruitment process allows managers to make the process comfortable. The more heard potential talent feels, the more detailed they may become.

Candidates are no longer leaving the conversation at “I took time off to focus,” unless they expressly don’t want to provide details.

Deeper thinkers are talking about how they spent time reflecting on future career choices. What matters isn’t that someone took time off. What hiring panels are looking for are visionary aspects of how a person faced everyday challenges.

Recruiters will be mindful of what information they’re paying attention to. What truly matters in the hiring process is a capable and qualified person for the job. They are looking for the best person that fits the needs of a business. Gaps in employment likely have very little impact on these factors.

Having a structured interview process gets the best results

Hiring managers that have a structured, optimized interview process get the best results for worthy new hires. Interviewers should ask the same questions of each candidate across the board.

This type of strategy makes it easier to avoid going off-topic. Their task is to find the best employee for the job.

Employers might notice a decrease in retention, sales, and more from their recruiting process. These officials need to be aware of the language used in interviews as much as any other business aspect. If they scrutinize a person’s reasoning for taking time off, they’re deterring potential top talent.

Job-hopping is another problem recruiters are looking at. Seeing several jobs on a resume within a short amount of time could signal a lack of reliability.

Hiring employees is costly. Noticing how a person doesn’t stay employed with 1 company for long could make them a risky hire.

Both gaps and ever-changing jobs can give the impression that a person:

  • Has commitment issues
  • May have bad judgment
  • Has trouble fitting into business environments
  • Is unwilling to work
  • Isn’t wanted by another company

Attitudes like these could make the company appear unsympathetic to the needs of its employees. Instead, they should show more appreciation for a candidate’s attention to their future.

An unstructured interview process may leave room for more insightful explanations to occur. In this case, hiring officials should use this information to see how a person dealt with adversity.

Taking caution and setting boundaries can help both the candidate and the recruiter make the right choice. Nobody wants to work for a company that doesn’t care about their journey. Likewise, businesses don’t want to hire employees who aren’t ready for a committed career.

Skills and experience are more relevant than resume gaps

Skills and experience are what make candidates stand out to employers, not resume gaps. Recruiters are more concerned with finding and retaining the best talent for sales and business growth.

They are trying to find people who are best aligned with their company goals. All job seekers want is the same alignment. Their employment gaps can only increase their job skills and education necessary for a role.

The negative knee-jerk reaction to resume gaps is disappearing. The state of the world made changes to many of life’s circumstances.

Companies know firsthand the impact the pandemic had on health and finances. The last thing businesses want to do now is waste time pondering small gaps in a person’s resume.

Still, they need to err on the side of caution during their hiring process. This consideration for unforeseen circumstances shouldn’t compromise their ability to judge character.

HR needs to make sure they are being as fair as possible during their recruitment process. They need to listen intently and watch the questions asked.

Communicating about these job gaps shouldn’t be stressful for anyone. Potential employees are finding the best ways to use their time off as an advantage. With the current state of the job market and the economy, job gaps are the least of a recruiter’s worries.

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