How to Fill Gaps in Your Resume

It’s a question many of us have to ask ourselves during a slumping job market: how can I justify and even fill gaps in my resume? It’s like a Catch-22: if you’re actively searching for jobs like it’s your job, how can you fill in the spaces in your resume?

You may feel that since most of your energy is being put into your job search, you don’t need to be doing anything else. After all, won’t most hiring managers or employers be sympathetic to a job hunt in this market? Yes and no.

Yes, hiring managers know what it’s like out there. However, you can’t just put “looking for a job from January-October” on your resume. They expect you to still make an effort, even if you’re not gaining anything monetarily. In fact, they will probably admire any and all attempts to still keep your mind active.

So, if you’re ready to fill in those pesky little gaps in your resume, here are five things you can do:

Volunteer

Volunteering is a great way to spend your time, as well as contributing to your local, state, and national communities. Try picking an organization or cause where you can use your transferable skills, which will prove to a hiring manager that you’re using your time off in constructive way.

Intern

Interning isn’t just for students. You can gain tons of professional knowledge, experience, and contacts if you dedicate yourself to interning at an organization you could see yourself in. Further, interning could lead to a job opportunity that you wouldn’t have otherwise found.

Take advantage of online resources

Got some spare time on your hands? Why not take advantage of online resources and establish a professional brand? For example, if you started an industry related blog that gained traction, you can say that your time off was spent productively, as well as professionally. It could also lead to powerful contacts, which is another advantage of using online resources properly.

Learn a new skill

Just because you don’t currently have a job, doesn’t mean you have to stop learning. Use your time off to improve yourself like learning a new skill, such as a new language, teaching yourself industry related programs, or improving the skills you already have. This not only makes you a more viable candidate, it also shows a dedication to self-improvement.

Consider part-time, temp, or contracted work

Some people can’t afford to work without pay, so why not consider part-time, temp, or contracted work? Many candidates have used to this tactic to fill in resume gaps, as well as realizing that this could lead to full-time employment. Plus, it never hurts to get a paycheck again, right?

What do you think? How do you fill in gaps in your resume?

About Mary Marino

Mary Marino is the founder of EmploymentPipeline.com, a job search resource. EmploymentPipeline.com has launched its “Occupation Pipeline” widget, a unique tool which enables users to search employment opportunities by sourcing occupations and employers, rather than job titles. Connect with Mary at EmploymentPipeline.com or on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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One Response to How to Fill Gaps in Your Resume

  1. Dan Woods June 1, 2012 at 8:14 am #

    All great comments, thanks for the information.

    I would just like to highlight two areas: Networking and Personal Branding.

    Networking – certainly the use of online social media such as LinkedIn, etc can help you network, but you can also join relevant associations. They may have active networking functions to really help you focus your networking and give you an opportunity to meet in person.

    Personal Branding – To truly fill those gaps on your resume you first need to identify them. Have someone else give you some candid feedback, and be open to receiving that criticism. Once you identify the gaps, look for ways to fill those. Some very meaningful ways can be through certificate programs and/or online training courses.

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