Hiring Managers Know That Most IT Careers Aren’t Seamless
When you’re looking for a new position in the tech industry, resume gaps may seem like giant canyons which will swallow up your chances of getting a viable offer. A recent LinkedIn survey of 2,000 American adults who lost their job between March and October 2020 revealed that 84 percent of those surveyed believe there is a stigma attached to being out of work. About two-thirds of those surveyed assume that their employment gap affects their ability to find a new job.
But the reality is that not all information technology careers are seamless and go in a straight line. Periods between jobs are not the opportunity killer that many folks believe them to be. This is especially true now, in the wake of pandemic-related disruptions. A different LinkedIn survey found that 96 percent of hiring managers would hire a candidate laid off due to the pandemic.
Whether your resume gaps are the result of personal choices, unforeseen circumstances, or economic decisions by an employer, you can overcome them if you are prepared to address them honestly and thoughtfully during the hiring process.
Here are five tips for discussing resume gaps with hiring managers or in job interviews.
When it comes to resume gaps, honesty is absolutely the best policy. Hiring managers have seen it all. They speak with people everyday who were laid off, suffered a personal setback or family crisis, took time off to raise children, or had other compelling reasons for their time away from their high-tech career. But their experience also means that they can tell when a candidate is being less than truthful. If you address a gap honestly, you can move on to why you are the best person for the position.
Be Upfront About Resume Gaps In Your Cover Letter
Your honest approach to resume gaps can start in your cover letter. By being upfront and explaining any significant employment gaps in your letter, you look confident, trustworthy, and unashamed of the choices you’ve made or the career path you’ve taken. That said, don’t spend too much of that valuable cover letter space on resume gaps. Refer to it where appropriate and quickly pivot to the substantive and more attractive parts of your employment history.
Emphasize the Positive
Depending on the circumstances of your resume gap, you can use it as an opportunity to demonstrate personal and professional growth and resilience. For instance, if you have bounced back from a personal tragedy, talk about the strength it took to do so. If you went back to school, tell the interviewer what you learned and how it adds to your qualifications for the position. If you took time off to travel, raise your children, or take care of an ailing loved one, speak of the perspectives and insights you gained from the experience.
No matter the reasons behind the resume gap, emphasize anything you did to stay involved in tech, develop professionally, or build your information technology skill sets.
Tweak Your Resume’s Formatting
There are ways, all honest and truthful, to deemphasize gaps on your resume and make them less noticeable.
You can use months to describe terms of employment instead of specific dates. If you left a position at the beginning of April, for example, and started a new job two months later at the end of May, simply listing the end of the first job as April and the start of the second job as May is accurate but makes the gap almost disappear. You can use years in a similar way. That being said, be prepared for the interviewer or tech hiring manager to ask you for more clarity about those dates and honestly discuss your gaps if they do.
Fill in the Blanks
You can eliminate resume gaps altogether by including those periods on your resume with a brief description of what you were doing. For example, you could list the following:
Full-time parent – 2016-2020
March 2017-September 2017 – Caretaker for ailing parent
Training on new tech skills and obtaining (specific) certifications following a layoff – May 2020-August 2020
The Takeaway: Resume Gaps Happen. Its How You Handle Them That Makes the Difference.
In the modern world, most tech careers have twists and turns that deviate from a straight line. Be honest and upfront and tweak your resume to emphasize the positives. By leaning into the curves and making them work for you, you have nothing to fear from gaps in your resume.
Get Your Resume Noticed By The Best Tech Companies. Contact GTN Technical Staffing Today.
Whether you are looking for a permanent position or temporary, contract-based work in the tech industry, GTN Technical Staffing can help you get your resume noticed, gaps or no gaps. Contact us today to learn more.