As the leading executive talent agency, we often hear one common concern during job searches. All of which has to do with employment gaps. A study conducted by LinkedIn showed “84% of those surveyed believe there is a stigma associated with being out of work. And roughly two-thirds (67%) assume that stigma affects their ability to find a new job.”
However, if you take a step back and look at the workforce as a whole, many of us take time off. Whether it may be to raise a child, travel, take care of a family member, going back to school, or simply getting laid off during a pandemic, most of us have experienced some type of gap in employment. Some are larger than others.
Regardless of the reason, this isn’t a life or death type of situation. Employers go through life the same way everyone does. As long as you can explain the employment gap on your resume and during the job interview, you will be just as competitive as the next candidate. Still, you must address your gap strategically. Here are the most impressive methods recruiters for marketing executives have seen top talent use to address their employment gaps.
Top Ways Recruiters For Marketing Executives Recommend You Use When Addressing Employment Gaps:
Every marketing professional knows how important it is to put your best foot forward. You always want to highlight your strengths, and present your weaknesses in a positive light. This is especially true when you need to talk about your employment history. Explain why you needed to take off. How did your break help you as a top marketer?
The best practice the leading executive talent agency recommends is to be as transparent as possible. You don’t want your new employer to guess the reason behind your employment gaps. They could assume you were let go because of bad performance or a lack of team effort.
Instead, address your work history in your cover letter. More often than not, employers and recruiters for marketing executives will notice the gap right away. This allows you to stay ahead of the game and explain why it is there. By doing so, you help recruiters move past the employment gap and look at skills and other experiences you may have that will help you succeed in the new position.
Letter Of Recommendation
A glowing recommendation letter from your previous employer is one of the best ways to show future companies that your employment gap has nothing to do with your performance. It gives your recruiters a way to gain insight into your background, responsibilities, capabilities, character, and potential. The reality is, future employers just want to understand that you have the expertise and leadership needed to perform the job effectively.
However, a recommendation letter from any previous employer will not be the same. You need to make sure the letter is from the last company before your gap. This will hold more weight when executive recruiters determine if you are a good fit for the position.
Fill In The Gaps
Top marketers are always looking for new opportunities to advance themselves. There is no better time to learn more skills than during your time off. What did you do while you were out of work? Did you have any freelance jobs? Were there certifications you accomplished?
Employers understand unemployment may happen here and there but they want to see how you use your time wisely and productively. The reality is, marketing is rapidly changing. You must continue to stay updated with the new trends and methods.
In other words, continuing to build your professional network and skills during your gap year is crucial if you plan to get back into the workspace. Recruiters and future employers need to see that you have remained proactive, are resilient, and will add value to the team.
Consider A New Resume Format
Most resumes have a typical timeline format. In this case, if you can not fill in the gaps, it would be in your best interest to consider a different way to write your resume. There is no right or wrong way. The leading executive talent agency has even seen top marketing executives present their resumes with part of it functional and part of it chronological. As long as you can highlight all your strong suits and employers can navigate through the resume smoothly, your resume is effective.
One example Forbes suggests is to “fill the top half of the resume with a summary of qualifications and a list of key competencies. Then follow that with a chronological list of your work experience.” This way recruiters and future employers will be more focused on your skill sets. Other small changes like using plain text instead of bold text for your dates can help draw attention away from your employment gaps. You could also use a smaller font to show less value.
Additionally, you should consider adding the reason behind the gap in parentheses. Small comments like (company shut down) or (budget cuts) will help recruiters understand your employment gap was not due to performance issues.
These are great tips to apply to your resume. However, you must be prepared to talk about your employment gaps in the interview process. Emphasize how your strengths have progressed during your time off and why they are better suited for the job at hand.
With years of experience, the leading executive talent agency can attest having an employment gap is not a deal-breaker. However, if you let it interfere with your ability to place your best foot forward, it could prevent you from landing your dream job. Focus on why you want to work at that particular company or industry. Maintain an upbeat attitude and explain your break positively. The more you practice how you will address the employment gap, the more prepared you will be when recruiters are throwing questions at you.
If you believe you need more guidance, recruiters for marketing executives are a great tool to have on your side. They have a clear understanding of what the company is looking for and what you need to thrive in that environment. At the end of the day, if you want to continue the growth in your marketing career, you must step out of your comfort zone and display your executive presence.
Author: Melissa Van Rossum