While it can be easy to see why applicants would want to avoid questions about a resume gap, TopResume career expert Amanda Augustine told CNBC Make It there’s a better way to explain your career break without lying about it.
First of all, be straightforward and succinct. “Whenever possible, discuss what you achieved during that time to keep your finger on your industry’s pulse to maintain, or even strengthen, your skills,” she said.
Explain how you attended any professional events within your industry, enrolled in a skills course, volunteered, took up freelance work or even worked a side gig while job hunting during your break. If possible, emphasize what you were doing to continue growing as a professional, and how what you learned can be an asset to your new role and employer.
For a work break related to personal or medical reasons, be concise and move on. At most, Augustine said you can consider modifying your resume so it displays only the years where you worked somewhere, rather than both the month and year.
A close second reason why people lied on their resumes was to cover a lack of necessary job experience. But thanks to a tight labor market, candidates right now actually have a better shot than they have in the past competing for jobs where they may not precisely meet all the stated requirements.
In fact, 84% of employers said they would consider a candidate who lacked the required job experience, according to a survey from HR consulting firm Robert Half earlier this year. Also encouraging: 62% of employees surveyed said they had been offered a position even when they didn’t meet all the qualifications.
The best way to go about applying for these jobs — without falsifying your experience — is to demonstrate how your current skills and experience can translate to the new role. Being candid about what you haven’t done but also expressing enthusiasm to learn new skills can also help bridge the gap.
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