I was reading Abby Kohut’s excellent book, Absolutely Abby’s 101 Job Search Secrets, and came across this statement:
“Prepare a good reason for any gaps on your resume in addition to an explanation of what activities you were involved in that may have enhanced your career, including personal activities. Gaps are typically not the reason why candidates are rejected. It’s the inability to explain them sufficiently, and or a lack of confidence about them that is likely to be a concern for recruiters.”
I concur 100%.
Candidates are always worried about their flaws. This is natural. However, it’s generally not the flaws themselves that hold them back, it’s how they deal with them.
If you present with confidence and have a good response to questions about your flaw, that will go a long way to minimizing the impact of that flaw.
For example, consider this most difficult situation – where a candidate was actually fired (unfairly) from their last job – this post walks through how to deal with that simply and with confidence: Dealing With An Unfair Termination.
The key in these cases is to not dwell on the flaw, and to focus on the future – what you can do, what you hope to do, what you have learned from the problem that will ensure it will never happen again – whatever answer best fits your situation. Make it simple, and then shift attention to what you can confidently do.
One other point:
Any time there is a gap or other flaw in your background, you are going to be much easier to screen out when you are trying to come through the front door, competing head to head with every other candidate who knows about an opening. The busy HR screener or recruiter who is thumbing quickly through 100’s of résumés to find the handful to present to a hiring manager is that much more likely to take a pass on yours.
This cries out for even more emphasis on networking. When you talk to someone outside of the “are they qualified for this job” evaluation mode, you have a chance to get that person engaged. You can talk about your package. You can explain (briefly) the flaw in context. And you can get then thinking about why you would be a great candidate, so that you can come into being evaluated for a position with a supporter.
For more on how to make this networking happen, see these articles. Leave a comment and let me know what you think.