157: Overcoming an Employment Gap
Overcoming an Employment Gap
I want to talk about overcoming an employment gap from an internal, and external, perspective.
Internal – What you are thinking
Step 1 – Acknowledge your role, if any, in the reason you have an employment gap – but DON’T beat yourself up.
Step 2 – Clean up your thoughts about your former employer, boss, YOU. It will not serve you going forward to still be hating on your boss or a colleague who “did you wrong.”
Step 3 – Spend some time journaling what you learned during your employment gap – about yourself, the world of work, friends/family/former colleagues. Try to stay in a positive space with this step: You may have learned that your former colleagues aren’t really your friends after all, so what’s the upside in knowing that?
Step 4 – Set your intention for moving forward – along with a concrete plan to get there. The past is in the past, and your focus is now on the future.
External – What you are doing
Step 1 – Remove months of employment from your resume and LI profile to help “mask” your employment gap.
Step 2 – Consider addressing your employment gap in your cover letter, especially if it has been more than 1 year. Explain, but DON’T overshare.
Step 3 – Prepare, and practice, your answer to the question “Why have you been out of work for ____months?” or “How have you grown during your period of unemployment?”
Step 4 – Keep networking. Don’t let embarrassment or fear of what others will think of you deter you from the most effective job search strategy in your arsenal.
Step 5 – Consider updating your education, certifications, skills, etc. You don’t want to compound an employment gap with outdated skills or qualifications.
Step 6 - Create a motivating job search routine, allowing for daily reinforcement when you do the things you set out to do. It is easy to become unstructured or stay in bed as the weeks drag on…this is the kiss of death for your job search.
Step 7– Consider volunteering, temping, or taking on consulting engagements, as a way to keep your skills current, get you out of your home, allow you to network, and in the case of consulting or temp work, earn some money.
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