Getting a job after an employment gap is an uphill task. Most applications with an employment gap get rejected in the screening level itself and those few applicants who get chance for an interview find it really difficult to convince interviewers that they are still employable.
If you have an employment gap or break in career, then your approach towards finding a job needs to be a little different and more aggressive than regular job seekers.
Remember the positives :
Yes, recruiters raise eyebrows on resume with an employment gap. But remember you have three things which they need most in a candidate.
Early joining, Low cost and Commitment.
So if you can prove your worth in an interview, any recruiter or hiring manager will be happy to take you.
All you need to do is wipe out their apprehensions.
So a few things you must do before starting of a job search –
Try to use break well –
If you have taken a break with a thought of returning back in the workforce. Then use the break to learn new skills, or do some freelancing work or some part-time work. So that you remain in touch with your skills and you also have something to show at the time of interview.
Self-reflection before you start job search –
Many of things must have changed in your life since you have worked last. Your commitments, priorities in life, health factors etc. So take everything into consideration before starting to look out for the job.
Also be realistic about your skills – how much you need to brush up, how much you have forgotten, in which areas you are still good at, are you able to justify whatever is written in your resume etc.
Taking a hard look at your own skills and competencies will give you a lot of clarity. It will help you in drawing up a map for interview preparation and will save you from embarrassment at the time of interview.
Think about a career shift –
Employment break also gives a good chance to make a career shift. If your priorities and interests have been changed in all these years and you think you will not be able to justify the work as you used to do earlier.
Then think about making a career change, try to find out something that interests you and also fits well in your current lifestyle and priorities.
So think in that direction as well, it’s not a norm to return to work doing something you used to do. You can definitely make a change in career, and you have plenty of time to do that.
Read – Learn about a career change
If after all the self-reflection you feel that you should go back to your old field- Then few tips for that-
Save your application from rejection :
Saving your job application or resume to get rejected at the screen level itself should be your topmost priority, as without getting a chance for an interview, you will not be able to prove yourself.
And how to do that-
1. Make a powerful CV, highlighting your skills, accomplishments, project experiences etc.
2. Tailor it every time you apply for a new job as per job requirement.
3. Float it among your network and LinkedIn
4. Use every medium to apply – Job sites, LinkedIn, company career page etc.
5. Check for referral: Job application through references has a higher chance to get viewed by recruiters. So whenever you come across any job opening, try to find out some reference in that company. Nowadays you can ask for reference through LinkedIn as well. Along with applying through job sites and portals, apply through LinkedIn as well.
Do the Research :
Many things must have changed since you left your last job. New work pattern must have emerged, new technologies and skills must have entered in the job market, there may be a change in interview pattern or many other things.
Talk to people who have stayed in the workforce, read articles, join forums etc.
There are tons of thing you should know before the interview to look prepared.
Research on which industries are booming, which companies are doing well, learn everything about your field etc.
The more updated you will be, more confident you will appear in the interview.
Interview Preparation :
If you get a call to attend the interview then, it’s time to do homework about the company, role etc.
Brush up your skills, prepares answers for everything you have mentioned in your resume.
Along with preparation of commonly asked interview questions and questions based on your skills and offered role. You must prepare a good answer of “Why you took this employment break”.
Your purpose with all this preparation and research is to not only feel confident but to make the interviewer feel like you have never stopped learning.
Nail the interview :
If you get a chance for an interview, then give you 100%, because that’s the only chance you will get to prove you still have those qualities and skills intact with you.
- Be confident during the interview, remember all the preparation you have done and also the fact that even after having an employment break, you still have tons to offer to employers.
- Justify your employment break in a good manner, as this question will definitely be there in an interview. And if you have learned something or did some work during this period then highlight that.
Since you come with this tag of employment break, recruiter or hiring managers are definitely cautious about hiring you.
So along with proving your skills and worthiness for the job, you also need to assure them about your commitment and most important about your job stability. You have to assure them that this time you are here for a long run.
Once you are able to clear this doubt from their mind, nothing can stop them from hiring you.
Be flexible –
Remember you need a start. So be flexible during salary negotiation and for other working condition unless it’s a complete “No” for you.
So getting a job after an employment gap is a tough task indeed. But constant efforts and proving your worth in an interview can make things easy for you.