A cause that is near and dear to my heart is how to take blank spaces on a resume and turn them into something that is not so blank. This blog post is for my potential clients who have opted out of the workforce to care for children, sick family members or other personal issues and even for those who may have been unemployed for a long stretch of time. With this economy, it has been tough for many people to find their next step – particularly for those 50 and older. For everyone who has some blank spaces on their resume timeline, it is hard to manage a career and to jump back in running without some help.
As someone who opted out of Corporate America and the trips to Singapore and Ohio – (see vlog for more), I know what it is like to manage a resume with some blank spaces – and even when I was laid off from a dotcom in the early 2000’s, there was a break in employment. So, the idea is to fill up your resume as best as possible.
For the moms who are ready to transition back to the workforce (maybe your youngest is in K now and you are ready), the questions to ask yourself include:
The same rules apply for having taken time off to care for a family member or even your own issues. I would highlight the positive of whatever you accomplished while out of corporate America, if the blank space is from having to deal with your own issue. The Americans with Disabilities Act would protect you from being fired for having an illness or disability but it is a gray area during the job search process so I would not lie so much as focus on the positive, such as, the facts being you are cleared to go back to work and the issue led you to focus on XYZ to make you a better employee is the best way to handle explaining the dates missing from your resume.
If you have been unemployed for a long stretch, the idea is to have things to discuss in place of paid work experience – maybe volunteer work or consulting gigs you were able to secure – making the best out of a bad situation and even if you had to take a retail job, trying to apply the best part of those experiences onto the resume.
Because, at the end of the day, the best way to handle the blank spaces on your resume is to have the most awesome resume ever that makes an employer interview and discuss all of your accomplishments and not focus on the one to two or even 5 year break in work history. Having a perfect resume can help camouflage those missing dates by focusing on the skills sets and the retraining of said traits that can focus you to your next step.
What do you think about my advice around handling the blank spaces of your resume? Is the Taylor Swift song stuck in your head like it is stuck in mine? If you are ready to find out more about re-positioning yourself back to the workforce, check out my upcoming seminars at Wagner College Office of Lifelong Learning or consider hiring me to make your resume the best it can be to focus your interviewers on your next step and not your blank spaces. Happy Hunting!
Lisa Vento Nielsen