Posted by: deltadallas | August 25, 2010

Bridging an Employment Gap

Many candidates in the past two years have come into our offices with significant gaps in their resumes. Some individuals who were laid off during the recession have had a difficult time finding a new place to land in a corporate landscape that is just beginning to recover. As jobs in Dallas continue to increase, these people are experiencing difficulty in interview situations.  Explaining a gap in your resume is never easy, and for people who have been out of work for 6 months or more, it is an even bigger challenge.

I spoke with Beverly Kaye of Career Systems International not long ago, and I asked her what employers might like to see from a candidate who had been out of work for a while. Here’s what she said:

Tabitha: Do people find creative ways to deal with their situations (joblessness)?

Dr Kaye: I think that some do and some don’t. The people that I have talked to – the out of work people – respond differently. Some get in the “woe is me” stage and stay there, and some are re-inventing themselves. Some have gone back to school, some are going to every networking meeting that they can, and some are taking on small projects – from anywhere. When this is over, perhaps they will be able to thread the small projects together and give themselves a new way to showcase themselves.

Tabitha: When people start to fill out their teams again, what kind of person do you think that they will be looking for?

Dr. Kaye: I think that people are asking, [everyone is saying this] “Can this person deal with ambiguity?”  Employers want to know, “If I give you a job, and I don’t quite define it all, how comfortable are you dealing with the ambiguous parts?” This is a part of the self-powered careerist. (A new term coined by Dr. Kaye in her latest work.) The self-powered careerist will say, “Oh – wow, I can make this job match me.” Whereas some people will say, “I need more definition…” The truth is that some leaders are not going to be able to give the definition that some employees crave. They want them to discover and create it.

If I am not innovating, I am dead. So [as an employer] maybe one of the new characteristics I am looking for is “employee as innovator.” And perhaps one of the interview questions I will ask is: “How innovative did you get back when you were out of work?” Did you decide to learn everything you could through this period no matter what?

Be sure, during your employment gap to keep your skills sharp, network, acquire new skills and volunteer for local organizations that you support. An employer will see this as motivation and innovation during one of the most difficult times in your life.

Tabitha Woods is Marketing Coordinator for Delta Dallas. If you are interested in Dallas employment, you can call Delta Dallas at 972-788-2300.

Tomorrow is the breakfast event for Dr. Kaye’s new training application; CareerPower 3.0. If you are in HR, you won’t want to miss this event! Click here to sign up for this free breakfast event sponsored by Career Systems International.

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