A job search is stressful enough as it is. Your resume is great, you graduated from an Ivy League school, and basically run your company. Getting people coffee is something that you do only out of the kindness of your heart.
So how do you address the glaring hole in your resume that will no doubt be picked up by a recruiter? Maybe you chose to take that sabbatical and meditate your way to a better life; your prospective employer will completely understand right?
Here are 3 tips to helping address this issue and adequately explaining yourself:
Tip #1: Assess the situation
Look back and think as to why you made the decision to take a break in the first place. Was it a health issue relating to you or a loved one? Perhaps work was physically draining to the point where you became sick. Did you backpack through Europe? Were you mentally/emotionally checked out? Sometimes, very demanding jobs can break one’s spirit.
Having a grip on what led you to take this break in the first place will make it much easier to explain. If you have confidence in your responses, it forces the recruiter sitting across from you to believe what you are telling them.
Tip #2: Take the bull by the horns
People often ask me if they should leave the gap in their resume or if they should ‘fudge’ the dates and leave it out all together.
As a recruiter, I say that honesty is key; whether it be in the interview process itself or once you’ve landed a job. Make sure you’re addressing the gap in your resume. Most companies run background checks that will verify dates of employment and it would be crushing to land a job only to have an offer rescinded when they found out about the ‘fudging.’ So don’t be afraid and bring it up in the interview while keeping in mind the reasons you’ve set out in Tip #1.
Tip #3: Tailor your search
Any and every company is not right for you; you need to know your audience. Do some research and see if you can find out about the company culture. Maybe you’ll want to apply for a job at an office where a sabbatical may not be frowned upon.
Some companies are well aware that they are demanding of their employees but offer to give them time to refuel in offering externships with clients, time in the work day to pursue personal projects and sometimes, even sabbatical pay.
I don’t endorse or suggest doing things that will create gaps in your resume, however sometimes they are a part of life and these tips will help address that.