By Helen Sanchez

There are different reasons that one might have an employment gap on their resume. You may have decided to be a stay-at-home mom, you may have been a caregiver or you may have been a victim of downsizing. Whatever the reason, employment gaps can be addressed honestly when conducting a job search.

Define Your Skills

During the time period that you are not employed, you can gain new skills or insure existing skills stay sharp by volunteering with a non-profit or doing freelance work. Whether you are caring for children, caregiving, volunteering or freelancing you should be sure to take each of these situations and list the skills and experiences you gain. Each experience gives you new and valuable skills.

Woman leaping over abyss to a new job - Employment gaps are not deadly - Tanagui

Your Resume

Once you are ready to begin your job search you must update or create your resume to reflect all of the skills you have acquired. Whether you specifically reflect your employment gap on your resume or at an interview, it is an absolute necessity that you be honest about the time period. It is not necessary to give a detailed explanation, simply stating that you were a parent, caregiver or unemployed in a professional manner will suffice. Personal details are not necessary.

Elevator Pitch

With the details you’ve outlined in your resume you can create an elevator pitch which is a brief 30 to 60 second speech outlining selling yourself as a professional. Start by introducing yourself, summarizing what you have done, explain what you are seeking in your next job and finish with a call to action. Thank them for their time, tell them you will follow up with an email and would like to stay in touch. Practicing your elevator pitch is critical, you want this introduction to be thorough, natural and something you are comfortable delivering.

Job Search

Your job search must be aggressive and focused. You should begin with your LinkedIn profile being up-to-date. Your networking should be extensive including personal friends and acquaintances, professional connections and expansion to new connections. Meeting new professional connections can also provide you with current business updates and allow you to practice talking about yourself and delivering your elevator pitch. You should also research companies that may be of interest to you.

Employment gaps are not deadly - Tanagui

Overcoming employment gaps is not simple but can certainly be done with success. Handling yourself professionally and with honesty are key. Always keep in mind the value you bring to the table. Mapping out your strategy is also a key to success.

Women over 40 are often seeking an opportunity to re-enter the workforce, to gain a better opportunity or to make a career change.

A resume is critical in a job search and will present you as a more polished candidate, highlighting your accomplishments and telling your career story.

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