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Employment Gaps on Resume: Worse for Males?


This posting is a guest entry from the Career Doctor, Randall S. Hansen, PhD: Rajan writes: I have a resume that has large employment gaps. This may be OK for females, but for males, it is a no-no. I have tried different types of resume styles. Nothing. I don’t get interviews. Is there any way to increase the number of interviews? How should I explain my resume? At one time I stopped looking for work for about 1.5 years, the biggest gap to explain. Then I did telemarketing and took a course in it. Telemarketing is not for me. I have stopped again for about 10 months. I don’t want to sit around. Right now I am looking for work as a network administrator. I have a background in hardware and software development, but I can’t move. In this area there is not much call for tech work.
The Career Doctor responds: The first rule of job-hunting is never expose a weakness to the employer — and never do it before you’ve had a chance to have an interview and build a case for yourself. Yes, employers do worry about employment gaps — for both genders — but you can do some things to make the gaps less obvious and to project yourself in a better light. First, I would recommend you experiment with a chrono-functional resume that focuses on your technical achievements and skills. If you already have one, then I suggest you ask a professional colleague, mentor, or resume professional to evaluate and critique it for you. My guess is that you are so focused on these gaps that this weakness comes through on your resume. Second, plan a strategy for explaining these gaps. Were you doing volunteer work? Were you taking classes? Were you working part-time or as a consultant? You will need to fill these gaps with something so that it doesn’t seem as though you were just sitting home all that time (even if you were). Third, are your technical skills current? If not, you might want to take a course or two to make you more marketable. Fourth, once you have a professional resume and feel more confident about yourself, you need to go back into the job market. And don’t worry so much about location, as there are definitely high-tech jobs where people work from home at least some of the time. Use all the tools available to you to find a job — your network, the Internet, etc.