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4 Tips to Improve Your Resume During Employment Gaps

Monday, March 13, 2017

Life happens to everybody, and sometimes, individuals are forced to leave their job. From maternity leave to spouse relocation, there are a number of reasons why an NP or PA may have an employment gap on their resume.

While some cases are more justifiable than others, all gaps in employment that lost last longer than a month should be explained. Clarifying your situation is vital because recruiters and hiring managers are keen on knowing why these employment gaps occurred. This is especially true when submitting applications online, as software scans can eliminate candidates without continuous employment dates.

This often worries potential candidates who have been out of the job force for sometime and who may feel that their reasoning may read more like an excuse. Take heart in knowing that your personal situation was likely reason enough to require you to leave the field for an extended time. However, it’s still important that you address the situation effectively on your resume so you don’t set off any red flags against yourself.

At NP PA Recruiters, we understand that life can change in an instant, and with it, your personal circumstances. If you have been out of the medical field for some time, but are now ready to return and re-commit yourself to your passion of providing quality healthcare services, we can help.

While you are undoubtedly excited about your future prospects, it’s still important to point out and substantiate the past period in which you were unemployed. Consider the following four tips to help you fill in and explain your employment gap.

1. Note it on your resume.

While you don’t have to necessarily provide a full-page explanation on your employment gap, you’ll want to acknowledge the time away from work by including the period under your work experience section. Just as you would add a new job entry, insert a “job” title that informs both the hiring manager and computer system about your absence. Examples include “maternity leave,” “caring for aging parent,” “personal leave,” “mission work,” or other reasons. Be sure to also provide “to and from” dates.

This brief admission allows you to own the situation, but doesn’t make you seem like you’re oversharing. The in-person interview is the time to provide a full explanation, if necessary.

2. Stay busy when you can.

While working full time may not be a possibility for you, there is quite a bit of value in contract/temporary work. Both of these forms of work allow you to maintain your skills, get exposure to new tools or industries, and help you continue feeling productive during a downtime in your professional life. Contracting/temp work can also help you maintain relationships with industry movers and shakers who may be able to help get you in the door when the time comes.

Note these short-term projects on your resume like you would any other job. Include project descriptions, deliverables, and results. In order to substantiate these “in-between” jobs, you’ll want to treat them just like you would any other real project.

However, make sure not to add fluff jobs to your resume, as recruiters will be able to notice any discrepancies. Also, be sure to have some references for these short-term jobs, and an explanation as to why you took them on. Hiring managers may see these short-stints as a warning sign about your ability to stay with a company long term.

3. Be positive when discussing your jobs prior to the gap.

When you get that interview, you’ll want to maintain a positive disposition and avoid throwing your last employer under the bus. Recruiters can view this as a sign of immaturity and inability to accept criticism. Explain yourself concisely, but don’t air out your frustrations.

Don’t be afraid to mention that you left your job voluntarily. It’s ultimately in your interest to let hiring managers know a specific reason for your leave of absence rather than just avoiding the topic. Do not give them any reason to believe that you were doing “nothing.”

4. Keep “working” by volunteering, writing, speaking, and getting more training.

Working doesn’t have to mean a stable 9-to-5 job. There are plenty of opportunities for you to continue growing professionally, including volunteering. If you decide to go down this route, plan on volunteering at clinics and hospitals where you can continue to enhance your skill set. Plus, it will provide you with a sense of productivity and usefulness.

Aside from volunteering, those who are looking to fill unemployment gaps can also become involved with speaking and writing engagements. Creating peer-reviewed, professional literature is an excellent manner to build credibility, and can also lead to speaking opportunities that can improve your reputation. These can lead to meaningful professional relationships and job prospects.

It’s also important to remember to keep your skill set current, as licensure and certifications must be kept up-to-date. Unemployed periods offer you the advantage of attending seminars and classes that you hadn’t been able to do before because of full-time work. Consider scanning through job boards to see what new skills or certifications would improve your resume.

Let NP PA Recruiters help you get back on the road to career success.

At NP PA Recruiters, we understand the challenges that arise when returning to the workforce. Finding that new opportunity is an important decision and so we are dedicated to helping nurse practitioners and physician assistants find that perfect opportunity.

On the road to success, continue to keep your skills up-to-date, stay busy volunteering when possible, expand your network, and don’t be afraid of a gap in your resume. Many individuals hit bumps in the road in their lifetime, but handle it effectively to keep moving forward.

Contact us today at (956) 772-1400 or (214) 351-3880 to find out how we can help you find that dream job.

This article originally appears on NA PA Recruiters.


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