Do you need a job in order to get a job?

Admittedly, that is what some employers are saying across the nation.

According to some recent articles, including this one by the Huffington Post, companies have adopted the preference of automatically rejecting candidates who are not currently employed.

In this way, employers are reducing the number of resumes they need to sort through, presumably only screening those candidates that have the most recent work experience and who are deemed valuable enough to merit another company’s investment.

As a staffing firm and service provider we have also come across this practice within the staffing industry.

With a 9.5% unemployment rate, and an economy that desperately needs people back in the workforce, a hiring preference such as this seems counterproductive for both the employer and nation as a whole.  By automatically rejecting these candidates, companies may be overlooking qualified workers who can contribute to the company.

For job-seekers themselves, this can come as very frustrating news.  However, there are a few ways to enhance a resume, despite having gaps in work experience:

  • Summarize  Current Unemployment

Often times it is good to summarize why you are no longer with the company.  Companies like to know what happened at your previous employer and to know a little about your personal situation. This can be put in your resume, or in an attached cover letter.

  • Highlight Non-work Activities

If you have been volunteering, traveling, moving to a new location, etc., make a note of it on your resume.  Sometimes unemployment is by choice, and adding these details can help explain the break in work history.

  • Pursue Educational Opportunities

If you have the means, pursuing additional degrees/certifications between employment opportunities may be a good idea professionally and for your resume.

  • Look for Temporary Employment

If you are usually a full-time employee, being unemployed may be a good time to pick up some contract work in between opportunities.  This helps to fill gaps on resumes and get more industry experience and additional skills.

  • Write an Article in Your Related Field

Staying connected to your industry/field of expertise is important for employers to see.  By writing blog posts and journal articles while seeking a new position you can stay connected in the industry and remain relevant to employers, even while you are currently not working.

In a competitive job market, it is always a good idea to add relevant information to your work-experience or your cover letter.  Filling in these gaps in work experience in your resume is better than leaving the reviewer to guess as to what occurred during that time.

We would like to hear from any other candidates or companies encountering similar experiences with employers and gaps in work experience.  Also, if you have any further suggestions for enhancing a resume with work experience gaps, please share them with us.

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About Diversity Direct

The Diversity Direct program is an extensive and scalable minority / women owned network that connects clients to diversity suppliers. Our network gives clients the best resources across multiple skill-set disciplines, in all diversity classifications and in all industry segments.
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