I have a confession to make. I have a gap in my resume. Fortunately for me it was during my collegiate career and not one that I need to address often. It certainly has not presented itself as an obstacle from a job seeker perspective in my professional career. However that is not always the case for all job seekers. Having a gap in a candidate’s resume can present a major obstacle even if there is justification.
Career counselors are divided into two camps when it comes to the best way for job seekers to address gaps in a resume. Some will say that it is best to make no mention of the gap at all, but rather place emphasis on the value that the individual will bring to the organization. Other will stress the importance of providing all the details regarding the gap in the resume. Not an apology, but an explanation that will make sense to a potential employer.
From a recruiter perspective- I have always gone with honesty above all else in tackling this issue. Hiring Managers are flooded with resumes daily, and a candidate that leaves any question mark on his/her resume can be easily dismissed. I always consult with my candidates to address the gap(s) they may have initially upon the submission of resume. The line of thought is to make the Hiring Manager aware of the gap rather then allow them the opportunity to draw their own conclusions.
In order for this strategy to be successful it is important for the recruiter to know exactly what the details are surrounding the candidate’s gap. If a candidate is reluctant to address the gap with me and/or clarify in the resume. Then no matter how qualified the individual might be- best to wish them luck and move on. One can respect that certain situations might be of a sensitive nature, but there are times that the job seeker feels that there is no need to address the gap till the actual interview. Unfortunately operating under that principle will rarely if ever lead to an actual interview.
Have a way to handle gaps with your clients and still secure the interview for your candidate? What other strategies have worked for you in dealing with this issue? Feel free to comment and share with our readers.
By Tim Spagnola
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