Monday, November 2, 2009

Employment Gaps on Resumes

Many jobseekers are worried because they have 4-6 month gaps on their resumes. In the past recruiters were told to put candidates with gaps into a "B" pile. Two years ago if a candidate went to an interview with a large gap in work experience, they would be expected to explain the gap.

That question is still going to come up in an interview today. But the cause of “the gap in the resume” is more likely to be the economy.

How long is an acceptable gap in your resume?

There are still employers and staffing companies that only want to hire people that are presently employed. Their theory is that companies will keep their best employees even in a tough economy. This theory is a little short sighted. Many excellent individuals have lost positions not due to own performance but due to the overall performance of their company.

Many employee cutbacks at companies were made to save money. In many cases people with higher salaries were cut and replaced by junior people. Are the junior people better employees than higher priced talent? The point is that many strong candidates are on the market right now because of the economy. This is a great opportunity for employers to access talent that was harder to find in the past.

Every day we interview candidates that would be working in a better economy . We look for patterns on resumes. If a candidate has gaps throughout their 10 year work career than a red flag goes up. But if they have a gap in in the past 6 months it is obvious what caused it.

My advice to jobseekers: Be prepared for the “gap in the resume” question. Do not just say it is because of the economy. Give a brief explanation without being negative about your previous employer. Negativity about a past employer is always a red flag for employers.

My advice to employers: Expect to see a surplus of jobs in the spring. Consider all candidates if you want to remain competitive and hire the best new employees.

Tim Collins

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