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Resume Gap? Think Outside the Box

Since unemployment seems to be the new black, recruiters are taking a different stance on gaps in the resumes they review. I used to do it 24/7: see a six-month gap of employment here, a three-month gap over there. Immediately, questions. Was this person let go due to performance issues? Slacker perhaps? Or merely a case of bad timing and luck: last one in, first one out? Now, given the state of the economy, it is deemed understandable, no questions asked.

As I reviewed a friend’s resume last week, I realized it’s time to let her unemployment time shine. Since the interviewer will barely touch on the fact there’s no paycheck at the moment, it’s a great time to fill some silence with the productive things she’s been doing with her time. She’s taking accounting classes, studying for the CPA exam and is volunteering extensively during her transition time. Why not highlight that on the resume?

I used to think of unemployment as the ability to sleep ’til noon, workout during Oprah, and hey, of course look for a job.

But the en vogue thing seems to be getting out of the zone, thinking outside the box (um, cubicle?) and putting yourself in a position to market your skills for both your past work experiences and new ones.

While it seems opportunities are slowly opening up, the key is patience. And being productive with the gift of time.


  1. D.

    work for the bd of ed 13 tears new boss trying to fire me single mom three kids about to lose everything because he does not like me he has so
    much power scared of being homeless

  2. Vicki,
    This is excellent information! I am currently unemployed but I am working harder than I did when I was employed.
    I have gaps in my resume that I feel might look bad but it is no fault of my own. It might appear as if I am a job hopper, but I am not.
    Up until 2007 I had a solid work history for several years with one company. Due to a merger, many lost their jobs for the first time as I did. The next job that I received was in the process of merging. I was assured that the company was not going to make any changes for over a year. I really did not believe it but I took the job anyway. In my 5th month on the job, the company started making changes from the top down. I watched as several people were laid off and then I saw all the people that came in the same time as me get laid-off too. Since I was new (last in first out) I knew it was a matter of time. Sure enough, in my 6th month on the job, I was in the third round of layoffs, even though I had accomplished a lot in a very short time.
    Each time I found a job quickly, so that was good. The last time I was out of work, the company that I worked for lost their contract and as a result all the contractors were let go.
    This time around it has taken me a bit longer to find something (no surprise due to economy) but I have been keeping very busy and positive.
    My first priority is to find employment. However, I keep myself very busy by volunteering with several organizations, going to school to learn new skills and keep other skills current, networking, creating and maintaining websites, and I even started my own company for supplemental income while in transition. I also started my own job search/networking group, and write articles.
    I am currently trying to see how I can add all these things on my resume.
    I hope recruiters and hiring managers change their view on employment gaps. Your article is a great tool to better understanding.
    I am positive that I will be working very soon. I just need the right employer to interview me and see the value that I can bring to their organization.

  3. Joy Martin

    There are some really great points in this entry! It’s certainly the norm for candidates to have gaps on their resume in this economy. I tell my clients that they should definitely be taking time ‘to fill the silence’ as Vicki wrote so eloquently – it can help set you apart as the stand out candidate if you are doing some fun and exciting things with your time and are excited to share it instead of being like every other candidate who says, with low enery, that they are spending all of their days job searching. Take a class, go on a travel adventure, volunteer, read, spend some time with your family….

  4. Dee

    “Since unemployment seems to be the new black”. What does new black mean and what would be the old black? And what color is employment if unemployment is black? Just want to be in the know of things. Good idea on how to handle gaps in resumes.

  5. Michael V. Caldwell

    Vicki, Trying to help can you pass this on?
    I Challenge All American Investors Who Want To Make A LOT Of Money and Put Americans Back To Work By; Starting Up NEW USA MANUFACTURING PLANTS, RETAIL STORES and ON-LINE STORES in America that will manufacture and sell (only) USA Made Products !
    Here is my Vision of how my plan WILL Work ! !
    The Only thing that I ask from you when your reading my plan is to read it with AMERI..CAN DO IT Attitude ! ! and if you find a hole in this plan, plug it with a fresh idea ! !
    1. Start up new manufacturing plants in the United States to manufacture only USA made products.
    2. Find manufacturing plants in the USA that are shut down, bank owned that can be purchased or leased for penny’s on the dollar. Upgrade all of our Plants using Clean, Efficient & New GreenTechnologies.
    (tax breaks will be given by government on these properties used in our USA Manufacturing Plants, keep in mind my whole idea is theory and would require team effort for all parties involved in our unique, badly needed USA manufacturing plants)
    3. All of our company equipment, including company vehicles and all business related items will come from; dead stock / over stock and will be purchased below cost.
    (in addition, tax breaks will be offered on all operating items to offset costs making our USA plants more competitive ! ! everything about my plan isgeared in this direction)
    4. After manufacturing our new products open up chain stores in the USA first, when popularity catches on, around the World thousands of outlets..If MC DONALD’S can do it..AMERI-Can Do it ! ! (including on-line stores)
    Marketing is the key to Success…every USA manufacturing plant and retail store will be painted Red White and Blue.. time to “Put American Made Products Back On The Map”
    Timing is another key to success and timing couldn’t be better than now !
    Americans want this to happen, need this to happen and want to see it happen now ! !
    Our New USA manufacturing plants and stores will make a statement; “Proudly MADE IN USA Again”
    Our USA Company Employees;
    All of our full time Employees that work for our USA Company will receive profit sharing as well as other benefits and be part of “Something Special”
    Our Companies first priority is to hire the unemployed, train them at minimum expense to the company and help the unemployed get back to work where they can feel good about themselves again.
    On The Job Training Program
    This program is designed for those who “Want to Work Now” while learning a new potential trade still able to seek work on the other two days of the week.
    Here is how it works;
    A. If a person has been unemployed for at least a year (verified) and they qualify for unemployment benefits they can sign up for this program that will allow this person to work 3 days a week, 8 hr. shifts their choice of the days they choose, this gives them the opportunity to seek other employment the other 2 days of the week.
    B. The trainee would receive OJT training for a new trade but receive no company wages unless the Company decides to hire the trainee full time then all company benefits will be paid to new hire including profit sharing from the first day trainee started.
    C. The person training the trainee will be evaluating the trainee’s performance at the same time, if the trainee does well upper management will hire the trainee instantly taking them off of unemployment thus saving the tax payers money and the Company will get a “Top Notch Employee” that “Wants To Work” that takes pride in his work.. thus creating revenue for everyone while saving the company expenses that will in turn help offset manufacturing costs to our company so they can manufacture and sell;
    “Proudly Made In The USA Products”
    D. USA Company Hiring Procedure
    Company hiring procedures will be different from normal company hiring procedures and require, out of the box thinking to accommodate our New Innovative USA Company ! !
    E. Company Requirements
    Pay trainee fuel expenses, small vehicle allowance, small daily food expense and health insurance while trainee is enrolled in this program, in addition keep track of the trainees hours from the trainees first day so his profit sharing benefits will be added if the Company decides to hire him full time. Day Care can be another option offered by our company.
    Company will have a reasonable training period to evaluate and train the person, after this time is up the Company either has to hire or dismiss the person they have trained.
    F. The Employment Department will keep track of the progress and work record, this will be supplied in a weekly report made by our USA Company.
    G. This program will be offered to the unemployed person that chooses this program and if applicant is accepted, applicant is not required to fill out work forms to receive their unemployment benefits during the three days applicant is working for our USA Company.
    H. If the person doesn’t work out for the company, the company can dismiss trainee at anytime but it has to be done using the same guidelines as any other company has to follow.
    Then employee may either follow the normal unemployment procedures or get put on the list one more time and get transferred to another one of our Plants or Stores to see if they could work out at that store, this would depend on the circumstances.
    I. All reports from the Company would be sent to the Unemployment office for review if the Applicant wanted to try this program again and this would be done only one more time if the Applicant did not work out. (footnote: the second chance would be offered only if the employee gave his two week notice to the company before he quite.
    This Program is designed so Everyone Benefits ! !
    * The unemployed that want to work now, get the opportunity to go back to work on a new job that is training them for a new potential Career and they may get put on full time, receive fuel expenses, health insurance and unemployment benefits and they can still seek a different job during this program as well and feel good about themselves ! !
    * This plan will help to put America’s Unemployed back to work; the BEST part of this plan is that, it will not cost the tax payers more money because this person is already receiving unemployment checks anyway.
    * The Company that is involved in this program will be getting a worker who wants to work and takes pride in his work at little cost to them thus making it more profitable to compete with foreign Products ! !
    This employment program will be implemented to; include disabled, older employees.. all unemployed americans whoAmericansparticipate in this Important and Needed “Put America Back To Work Project”
    * The Government will collect more revenue from the unemployed because the only financial requirement the unemployment office would require from the employee in this program, would be to have the withholding taxes be taken out of their unemployment check.
    (most of the people on unemployment already have this option checked but the few that don’t would be required to do so…thus saving the government more money…indirectly us money)
    A. Will Come From UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Inventors First When Possible, here is how it works;
    An Inventor with a new product/s brings his signed non-disclosure forms in and release forms in that holds our Company harmless of any potential damages, his product is evaluated and if it looks good Our Company will either build it or sub out the work to other USA Companies.
    If the other USA Companies that we are subbing our work out to are used by our Company they will receive a Tax Credit by government. (to offset manufacturing costs)
    Our Inventor’s New Products that we manufacture will receive a fair percentage Only, no upfront money will be paid to them until sales are made from their product/s.
    There are Thousands of American Inventors with good viable new products that would line up for this opportunity, lets give them the opportunity to Market their New USA Products and put America’s Unemployed Back to Work.
    B. Our Store Inventory Will Also Come From Products That Are Already Being Manufacturing In The U.S.A These Companies Will Have The Opportunity To Put Some Of Their Dead Inventory In Our Stores On A Consignment Basis After Our Company Evaluates Their Product For Quality And Competitive Pricing And It Meets Our Requirements.
    Solar Panels, Wind Generators,Green Products and Unique Products.
    (Tax credits will be given by our government for this inventory but once it is inventoried it stays in the stores on consignment and the Consignee will have to keep it there for a certain amount of time, details will have to be worked out on all of this plan)
    * To Make This Plan A Reality It Will Take American Ingenuity, Team Work, Pride and Cooperation, from everyone “UNITED WE STAND” but Most of All We Need To Keep A Positive AMERI-CAN DO Attitude.
    Thank You, Respectfully,
    Michael V. Caldwell,
    Executive Producer of “Hot Rod Horror”

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