How to explain a legitimate employment gap in a resume

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Ellie in Harvey, Illinois

50 months ago

Hi, I graduated from college in 2006 and decided to take a little time off after school after I got cold feet about going to law school (4 years later, I am certain I do not want to go). I dragged my feet a little because I did not do internships while in college and was not very active and I became nervous about getting a job (I also have extreme performance anxiety about writing a resume to the point where I practically have a panic attack when I try to write one). During this time my mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer which eventually spread to her brain. With my mom becoming increasingly debilitated and helpless, it got to the point where she really needed someone to take care of her constantly, and I became her unpaid caretaker. My mother needed me, and the economy had crumbled, especially in my area, and I stopped even thinking about trying to get a real job. After a long and painful decline, my mother passed away at the end of April and I am just starting to pick up the pieces. I am now in the position where I am basically starting out and yet am four years out of college, and I am getting really scared because I see no prospect for financial independence. I don't even know what field to look in, I just have to have some honest work.

I don't know how to handle this. I've always been really terrible at selling myself anyway, and all I can put on my resume is a campus job and some work-at-home stuff I have done on the internet since March 2009. I know I need to account for my lack of work history all this time, but I just don't know how to explain the situation on a resume. I may very well use a resume writing service if I can't get past my mental block, and as I've said, I am bad at selling myself, but I was wondering if anybody can give me any pointers for accounting for this mess?

Thank you to anybody who takes the time to read this.

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itagent in Danbury, Connecticut

50 months ago

Go the your local library and take a look at a book called "Resume Magic". Professional resume writers use this book to write resumes and make a living from it. It has everything you need to writing a resume, cover letter, thank you notes...etc. Or you can buy it at a book store. I think I paid around $30.00. But I did notice it was at a library I go to. Good luck and keep your chin up. God Bless you for helping your mom. I totally understand.

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Angellee in Tampa, Florida

50 months ago

Oh and I also always used a chronological resume.

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TheInterviewDude in Seattle, Washington

50 months ago

casey45 in Georgia said: And it happens more than you would think....

Being a former hiring manager, I can say that to be true. I never canned functional resumes nor did I ever can chrono resumes with gaps, but I do have first hand knowledge of some other hiring managers that did. As soon as they saw some functional resumes, they tossed them. They also tossed chronological resumes with employment gaps. They wanted perfect connect the dot work histories and the perfect resume(which does not exist)

Thank you Casey... that's exactly the point I was trying to make. Even though it's "not right" for them to do this, it is the reality that we live in. Why spend all of this time, effort, and energy swimming upstream? Sure a lot of people are pissed at this truism, but at a certain point, you've got to stop whining about it and start "playing the game"... Its just like in dating... TONS of guys are pissed that "women are confusing" or they "hate playing games" and they wish they could just tell a girl they like them and be done with it... but thats simply not the world we live in... You've got to build attraction, and demonstrate your higher value compared to other potential guys that are courting her... The same is true with getting hired in a job hunting environment. You can FORCE a woman to be in love with you just like you cant FORCE employers to love a functional format...

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TheInterviewDude in Seattle, Washington

50 months ago

TheInterviewDude in Seattle, Washington said: You can FORCE a woman to be in love with you just like you cant FORCE employers to love a functional format...

CORRECTION... I meant to type "You CAN'T FORCE a woman to be in love with you just like you cant FORCE employers to love a functional format...

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Robert Meeks in Winchester, Kentucky

50 months ago

When we talk about how HR personnel read resumes and how they are all the same, we fall into a trap of classifying people; which is the same thing you fear that someone looking at your resume is going to do to you.

People are different and this applies to the people looking at your resume as well; they were not created in some cookie cutter factory (despite what some of us may feel to the contrary (: ).

Your focus does not need to be the fear of what someone will think of your resume, but, instead, presenting your resume in a way which will get more people to look at it.

Yes, if you put "I have not worked for 4 years" as the introduction to your resume, people looking at it will likely go no further. This would seem obvious, but if you fear that is what people will see regardless what you put on your resume, then it is going to get in the way of you writing your resume in the first place; as it already has.

What do you want people to see you as on your resume?

How would you introduce yourself to a prospective employer in person?

Those two questions are not mutually exclusive.

Present yourself for your qualities and skills which you can bring to an employer; of course, not only do you need to be honest in this assessment, but you need to believe in yourself in this capability to the point that you see yourself in this way and not let fear be a crack in your foundation.

People present chronological resumes, functional resumes, and resumes which just don't easily fit into a category, and they get interviewed and hired.

Not everybody is going to look at a resume the same, and not everybody is going to give you the same advice on a resume either.

(continued in next post)

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Robert Meeks in Winchester, Kentucky

50 months ago

(continued from previous post)

Looking at being a caregiver as a sabbatical or time off (being unemployed or anything else like that) is an extreme understatement.

I was my mother's caregiver in the final years of her life. She had Parkinson's disease and developed worsening dementia and paranoia as time passed. I eventually had to give up working due to the difficulty of leaving her alone for any length of time.

Being a caregiver is an extreme responsibility for which a good number of people are simply "glad it's not me".

Caregiving requires, and develops, tolerance, organization, and commitment. Somebody who can be someone's caregiver has often seen more challenges in caregiving than than many people will ever see at work.

Don't look at caregiving as something you want to hide about yourself or as something which doesn't count. List the time you spent caring for your mother and the capabilities which qualified you as a person to take care of her, as well qualities you brought out of that experience.

Present yourself first as the person you are, and believe in that person. Present your work, school, and caregiving history in a chronological manner, supplemental to your skills and capabilities.

Yes, regardless how you present yourself, how you organize your resume, there are those who will look at it for what they want to see it as and discard it regardless; those people are who they are and there will be others who look at it and will want to talk to you.

Don't fear the people who may not want you; ignore them.

When I list my job history chronologically, I list it first by my job title and job description, then for whom I worked and when.

Those are just some hints, good or bad, but most important is for you to believe in yourself and present yourself as that person you believe yourself to be. Some will try, but don't you let them tear down your belief in yourself.

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Are You Serious in Denver, Colorado

50 months ago

Robert Meeks in Winchester, Kentucky said: (continued from previous post)

Looking at being a caregiver as a sabbatical or time off (being unemployed or anything else like that) is an extreme understatement.

Caregiving requires, and develops, tolerance, organization, and commitment. Somebody who can be someone's caregiver has often seen more challenges in caregiving than than many people will ever see at work.

Present yourself first as the person you are, and believe in that person. Present your work, school, and caregiving history in a chronological manner, supplemental to your skills and capabilities.

Those are just some hints, good or bad, but most important is for you to believe in yourself and present yourself as that person you believe yourself to be. Some will try, but don't you let them tear down your belief in yourself.

I've come to the conclusion that those, including employers, who talk down to others and enjoy making others feel small to boost their own status/standing in a group, aren't my crowd. They have too many problems and aren't supporting the best interests of others. Being a leader requires that you actually have good leadership and team building skills.

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Robert Meeks in Winchester, Kentucky

50 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: So many employers will see "caregiving" on a resume and conclude, unfairly, candidate was malingering. They won't give candidate a chance to present his/her story. They just summarily toss the resume. Candidates must account for their time honestly and document it if they must - if they're asked. They may not be asked. The point is why volunteer potentially deleterious information. Compare with "don't ask, don't tell."

And that's, again, classifying.

Yes, some employers, specifically HR personnel, will summarily dismiss a resume if someone's primary responsibility has been caregiving over a few years stint.

It does not occupy my resume, but I have job experience well beyond that; being in my 40s, that happens.

Putting a responsibility as a caregiver on a resume for someone who has only a college job and work at home experience over the past four years will not only provide an explanation for a lack of working over the past four years, but it will eliminate the question of "what did you do for 4 years", as well summarily awkward explanations.

More people, in my opinion only, are likely to dismiss a resume with little work experience over a four year period than they are to dismiss one presenting someone's capabilities, even gained as a caregiver.

There is not going to be a magic pill in a resume; nothing is going to work for everybody. Optimizing one's resources, especially if that's all they have, will likely work more than fail.

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Are You Serious in Denver, Colorado

50 months ago

casey45 in Georgia said: Exactly and the point I was trying to make. All resume types can work including the functional resume that many employers don't like to read and the one in which The Interview Dude is so against. But there are some that will read it and look for an applicant's skills and will call you for an interview.

Honestly, after speaking to employers recently seeking my professional company (after they seen the new, pretty and improved resume that was updated) (Thank You and Appreciation to Resume Updating Course Teacher), I had to reject quite a few of their invitations.

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Robert Meeks in Winchester, Kentucky

50 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: That's precisely my point - again. Why put anything potentially deleterious on a resume. Anything that allays their conscious/gives them an excuse to eliminate a candidate. Not to be redundant, but employment stopped being an inclusionary process long ago. Employment is now an exclusionary process. Resume screeners, HR and whoever search resumes thoroughly to look for reasons, er, excuses to discard candidates - not bring them in to see what they offer.

You are basically reiterating the same point regardless of anything I say to the contrary.

Further enabling Ellie's fear of the unknown is just adding fuel to a fire that's been burning for a while now.

Again, I'll just reiterate that, in a very brief summary, putting a functional introduction along the lines of:

"after college, having worked for ***** during my time in school, I found myself having to take on the responsibilities of caring for my mother's every needs in her final years, during which I did work at home jobs, as my time consuming caregiving duties allowed, which additionally allowed me to organize my time better having such a busy schedule"

provides a more telling introduction of someone, and more favorable in my opinion, than:

"after having graduated from college, and having left my school job, I took on doing work at home jobs".

Without the mention of caregiving, the work at home job could seem to an HR person as meandering, or someone who doesn't want to take on too much responsibility. The responsibility of caregiving offsets that.

Mentioning something up front additionally eliminates the response of "why didn't you tell us about that".

There is a four year period for which to account; giving an accounting of responsibility during those four years seems more desirable than hiding the caregiving and making it look more like you didn't do much during those four years.

(continued in next post)

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Robert Meeks in Winchester, Kentucky

50 months ago

(continued from previous post)

You know, there are people out there; some of them actually work for companies, and may even look at resumes of prospective employees.

Yes, there is a lot of filtering in hiring, but not everybody falls easily into the same classification.

Hiding things and leaving oneself open to awkward explanations of why they were not upfront about something does not necessarily solve any more problems than it creates. Yes, it is true that caregiving would not fall into a required disclosure for a resume; but if it's what you have, and it explains an absence of work history, it can potentially solve more problems, in my opinion, than it creates.

Hey, I can go driving on the road and get into an accident and be killed; this doesn't mean that because something negative could potentially happen that I should not drive. By the same reason someone should not fear using caregiving on their resume because someone may consider it as not important. Any job experience could potentially have a negative reaction from a screener; and the only way to avoid such a reaction is to turn in a blank piece of paper.

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Frank197 in San Francisco

50 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: My problem with the "Dude," his kindred "experts" and allied resumes writer lackeys is they recommend that one submit a chrono resume, only. Just read these fora. Nearly every one of the (shill) resume writers declare one must use a chrono resume or else. None of these individuals consider that one size does not fit all. They never recommend alternative resume formats. It would be an admission against interest if they did, I'm sure. They also don't like when alternative resume formats get interviews.

If anything, resume writers need to be open minded about better serving their clients and not their recruiter and HR masters.

Displaced, Do you mind if I ask you if you're currently looking for a job right now? Are you still practicing law?

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Robert Meeks in Winchester, Kentucky

50 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: Before depositions, attorneys advise clients to answer questions, but to answer only what is asked and not volunteer information. Volunteering information can open cans of worms that may be better left closed. The same advice applies here.

The volunteering of information in this case is due to a lack of work experience. For someone who has work history to put on a resume, then I would recommend not putting caregiving on a resume.

The original question was about not having anything other than work at home experience since college, and a four year gap since.

Of course, either option exists: leave the gap and answer any questions about it later; or use the caregiving as a capability and an explanation of the four year gap.

Right now using a resume, especially for someone just starting out in the job market or someone re-entering the job market, is to some degree a numbers game; get it out in front of as many employers as you can.

Using the caregiving as an entry does show responsibility; of course, as you have mentioned, there are those who will look at caregiving as just sitting at home (mindless or heartless, or both, I don't know which way to describe such a person).

She could go either way with the resume. I would recommend using the caregiving, as she has little else to list due in good part to having to take care of her mother.

One distinction is to use it as a character trait; a positive. Even if she opts not to put it on a resume, she will probably be asked about the four year period; she needs to have it in her head that caregiving is a responsibility that most people don't want, it is not an excuse and should never be thought of as such.

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Robert Meeks in Winchester, Kentucky

50 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: Are you changing your position? I gathered that until now you were adamant about the OP putting caregiving in black and white on her resume. You need to consider that one cannot know who will read a resume. My point, again, is putting potentially detrimental information **in writing** on a resume and/or cover letter is risky. Resumes and cover letters have one primary purpose: to secure interviews.

I have not stated anything contrary to my position and if you think you read that...read better.

I stated my recommendation for someone lacking a work history to list their caregiving status for the time period; a recommendation specific to the person asking the question.

I relied to your generalization about resumes with a generalization of my own.

I think she should put caregiving on her resume and I do not believe it is detrimental, as you put it.

If I were looking at resumes and I looked at a resume of someone who only did some work at home employment in a four year stretch versus somebody who was a caregiver during that same time-frame, I would want to interview the caregiver. Do keep in mind, though, that I am biased to that position, so I cannot apply it as a generalization about those who read resumes; at least not in the same way you apply generalizations to them.

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Robert Meeks in Winchester, Kentucky

50 months ago

Displaced Legal Professional in Denver, Colorado said: Continued...

Yes, you are biased in every way toward putting caregiving on resumes, and, hence, your objectivity regarding same is compromised. Your bias is understandable; nonetheless, It's futile to try to convince you that employers might view it differently because you simply refuse to accept it.

I do not disagree with you that 'some' will view it the way you say; but, sorry, I am not going to categorize every single person in the same way.

Your comment about my bias toward caregiving and a compromised objectivity is a cheap shot and poorly worded.

All I'm trying to do is give some advice to someone without feeding their fear; not win an argument as it's not about me but about them.

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johannes in North Brunswick, New Jersey

40 months ago

Same here, i have 2 year employment gap. I graduated from college on 2009.
After graduation I did a summer job for a month after that nothing follows.
Although I'm actively searching for a job on 2009 but I didn't land a job. I took a break to prepare myself on law school, then on June of 2010 I enrolled at law school however I stayed only for a month I decided to withdraw because it is far away from our home and for medical reason also.
Now I'm still jobless, but I have a little business and earning not much. I want to be in corporate world.

Now, I will start my job hunting again and hoping to be employed soon. Despite of what happen to me, I am still optimistic that my future employer will be considerate and look not on my gap instead in my skills as well as my good grades in college.

Of course, there are still doubt in my mind that my employment gap would hinder me in my job search.

But of course, I will remain optimistic and hopeful.

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MyCon in Georgia

40 months ago

Folks,

If you can't get employed, then get involved....

Go participate, volunteer, get trained, do some training:
* Professional Affiliations
* Training - directly related & even a few indirectly related
-- Believe or not, depending on the type of company & training, some training
can be negotiated to reduced tuition & perhaps, even waived tuition. There
may be conditions, but that's entirely between the training service & you.
* Find or develop a more effective system for yourself to pursue those jobs
* Get creative - There are so many things that one can do, rather than sit
behind a computer all day long.

The culmination of these or other types of activities can demonstrate to prospective employer that yo are a "proactive" person who's not willing to sit around & wait....

In some instances, that's one of the reasons that employers don't hire "qualified" candidates. They may have all the book smarts, 10+ years of hands-on experience, but in today's market, being able to fit into the company's corporate culture also part of the qualification.

Actually, "doing something", "taking action" can be demonstrated onto a résumé &/or cover letter, which may capture an employer's interests, rather than one with a (huge) employment gap.

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Lori Nicholls in Hoagland, Indiana

40 months ago

Eli, go to the library and pick up WHAT COLOR IS YOUR PARACHUTE. It is an excellent resource. I see a lot of questions within this question. This book helps you define your skill sets, identify the best ways to do your job search, how to write your resume and how to address things like employment gaps. Also, see if your state has a career center. Indiana has an excellent resource called WorkOne. They offer classes on branding, resume writing, goal setting ... etc. I really think you would benefit from both of these resources. Let me know what you come up with? In the meantime, be kind to yourself. Start listing your strengths and what you like to do. And volunteer somewhere. You'll gain some experience and will be able to say that you are engaged in something. I hope this makes some sense ... you've just got to get the book.

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- Indeed Host in Austin, Texas

40 months ago

Hello everyone, This is a forum for people to discuss jobs, industries, companies and such. While we encourage the exchange of ideas and opinions, we ask that you refrain from making personal attacks as well as offensive comments. We also ask that you keep all comments on topic. Please help us foster a professional and informative environment for all our users. Indeed Host

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MyCon in Georgia

40 months ago

losthope in Indiana said: Who here stated that EVERY employer throws out a resume with gaps? I didn't see anyone make that broad statement. However, some of them WILL throw them out whether you want people to hear that or not.

I'll agree... Who the heck knows what employers are looking for. Sometimes they don't seem to know what type of candidates they are seeking, despite having a laundry list of requirements & someone to fit in their "corporate culture".

If one can't get a job in their desired field, then branch out & do other things to fill the employment gap. I already listed or suggested multiple things that both the unemployed & employed could do to better their situation.

The culmination of of activities can not only build one's skills but can position a candidate towards better opportunities or be "that" person they hire!!! Just imagine, beating out a dozen plus candidates, getting down to the top 2 or 3 & the reason "you" beat out the other candidates is not necessarily because of your qualifications alone, but because you appeared to be a person didn't sit on their a@@, while unemployed....

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Jason in Owings Mills, Maryland

36 months ago

How do you explain a 3 year gap in work history when you left work to pursue a career as a footbal player. Obviously, it didin't work out, so I am here trying to apply for jobs, but am stuck on this.

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Will

36 months ago

Given this atrocious economy where good potential employees have been out of work for what could be a couple of years through no fault of their own, I'd say much to much is made out of employment gaps on resumes and I wouldn't obsess about it.

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Pria in Munich, Germany

29 months ago

I would like to know from some of you experienced people,on how I would explain my 2 years gap in career.I have 5 years of previous working experience from some of the well known banking firms and in a niche technology.However I had to quit my job coz of my relocation reason(to a diff country indeed),I just wanted some time off from my career and settle down before looking for a job again.So I had been on a break of arnd 8 months and then started looking for new job.But by then my husband got a new job in Munich and again we had to relocate.so after around 3 months I was in a new city.In Germany I could hardly find English speaking IT jobs, as they need fluent German speakers (That's what I have heard and seen in the Job requirements posted on the site as well from the consultancy firms).So I started with German classes.Meanwhile I have done some professional trainings,number of certifications relevant to my job and a regular brush up of the technologies I used to work on.Now it's again the time to move back to UK and its almost more than 2 years.I am not sure how do I show this in my CV ,as every consultant firm asks for the current position,which really depresses me.

I would appreciate anyone help me out,as I want to secure a job which I won't leave now :( .Even I am afraid to apply for PG courses,not sure if they will entertain me.

Many Thanks in advance.
Pria

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Bluetea in Texas

29 months ago

Pria in Munich, Germany said: I would like to know from some of you experienced people,on how I would explain my 2 years gap in career.I would appreciate anyone help me out,as I want to secure a job which I won't leave now :( .Even I am afraid to apply for PG courses,not sure if they will entertain me. Many Thanks in advance. Pria

In the US, a gap of 2 years could make you unemployable - especially if you are in IT.

You will have to answer the question, "So what have you been doing for the last 2 years?" And you better not say, "Looking for a job?" That is the wrong answer. So far, you have an acceptable answer.

Its getting to the interview that will prove difficult - especially if you are an "off-the-street" candidate. You are competiing with candidates who do not have any "issues" with employment.

My advice would be to fire up your "networking circles" and/or try applying to smaller firms. I took off for 18 months to be with my mother when she took ill and the big firms wouldn't touch me. I re-started with a company that employed less than 100 people to "fill the gap".

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designer bee in Waukesha, Wisconsin

29 months ago

I have had better luck with smaller companies. They aren't interested in background checks as much and don't ask a lot of stupid questions. They just want someone that can do the job. Get rid of the HR person and getting a job at a company is easier. Not easy, but easier. I really hate dealing with Humanless Resource people.

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Bluetea in Texas

29 months ago

designer bee in Waukesha, Wisconsin said: I have had better luck with smaller companies. They aren't interested in background checks as much and don't ask a lot of stupid questions. They just want someone that can do the job. Get rid of the HR person and getting a job at a company is easier. Not easy, but easier. I really hate dealing with Humanless Resource people.

I agree. I was at a career seminar and the guy said that 50% of your job searching efforts should be targeted towards smaller companies. They aren't quite as picky and there is less competition.

The problem is that they don't always have the budgets to post online so you are going to have to work a little harder.

I have had far better luck with small companies.

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Parafreegal in Chicago, Illinois

29 months ago

There's an epidemic of people out of work for extended periods of time. If the economy ever really improves, are employers going to continue to deny these people jobs? Is the stigma forever?

If we're applying somewhere, it means we want to work. If we show up to an interview, it means we want that specific job. If an employer is concerned, conduct an interview, do a background check and query references. If a person can pass these tests, then why not hire him? Why go to the trouble of bringing someone in, doing all of these things and then look at the gap on the candidate's resume as the defining factor?

At some point, this must end.

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Nick in Somerville, Massachusetts

29 months ago

Nope. At this point, employers are demanding Facebook passwords as a condition of employment, and running your resume through filters that are pickier than a woman planning her wedding.

I just found out that at my last job (where I made $62k a year) just completely got rid of their commission structure, effectively slashing everyone's pay by up to $25,000 a year. No warning. Just basically told their employees to shut up and like it, or there's the door.

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Parafreegal in Chicago, Illinois

29 months ago

What's your source on the Facebook thing? I find that hard to believe.

I believe the second paragraph.

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Bluetea in Texas

29 months ago

Parafreegal in Chicago, Illinois said: What's your source on the Facebook thing? I find that hard to believe.

I believe the second paragraph.

I can link you directly but Google this:

"Jobseekers Get Asked for Facebook Passwords"

This is one reason why I don't have a Facebook page. Technology always has a darkside.

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Nick in Somerville, Massachusetts

29 months ago

Employers get away with m.u.r.d.e.r, these days. They can ask for anything, or judge you by anything. I'm quite sure that I've lost out on job opportunities because of my sex, education, race, and age. Can I prove it? Not at all. But some of these jobs...there is NO reason why I shouldn't at least be getting to the interview stage...unless they're not-so-secretly looking for "a certain type of person."

In MA, you "have the option" of providing your race and sex. It's "not required" and "not important" but I bet if you refuse to provide either one, your resume discreetly finds it's way to the shredder. If it's not important, WHY ASK?

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needajob in Chicago, Illinois

29 months ago

Bluetea in Texas said: I agree. I was at a career seminar and the guy said that 50% of your job searching efforts should be targeted towards smaller companies. They aren't quite as picky and there is less competition.

The problem is that they don't always have the budgets to post online so you are going to have to work a little harder.

I have had far better luck with small companies.

What are some resources you used to find openings in smaller companies? Did you use professional affiliation sites to find these businesses?
I'm interested in working for a smaller business and don't know where to start.

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MP in Towson, Maryland

29 months ago

I would put a sentence in your cover letter that states that you have a strong work ethic and are driven, but do have a gap in employment while you were caring for a terminally ill parent.

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Bluetea in Texas

29 months ago

needajob in Chicago, Illinois said: What are some resources you used to find openings in smaller companies? Did you use professional affiliation sites to find these businesses?
I'm interested in working for a smaller business and don't know where to start.

I actually started by walking through industrial parks on the weekends and just writing down names of companies. Then, I snail mailed them my resume. I mailed out over 100 and got 3 offers.

Do not try this with big companies - your resume goes right in the trash.

If your profession has any industry associations, join. This takes longer but its a good way to get leads.

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Pria in Munich, Germany

29 months ago

Parafreegal in Chicago, Illinois said: There's an epidemic of people out of work for extended periods of time. If the economy ever really improves, are employers going to continue to deny these people jobs? Is the stigma forever?

If we're applying somewhere, it means we want to work. If we show up to an interview, it means we want that specific job. If an employer is concerned, conduct an interview, do a background check and query references. If a person can pass these tests, then why not hire him? Why go to the trouble of bringing someone in, doing all of these things and then look at the gap on the candidate's resume as the defining factor?

At some point, this must end.

Yes, I agree.Even though I have mentioned the reason of gap and all about the certifications I have completed during this tenure,the consultant does ask me the same question again and sometimes it feels that some lawyer is cross examining me :(
If I say I have brushed my skills regularly ,then they should probably arrange for some online tests if they feel I am lying...instead of rejecting me directly.
To some extend I agree that though I won't be able to give the same output intially as I would, if I had been in job,but at least I can be hired for a position which is for less experienced,if meanwhile someone perform well then they can be promoted.That way the Client too would benefit as this will have them ended with a person more experience and less pay.

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designer bee in Waukesha, Wisconsin

29 months ago

Bluetea in Texas said: I actually started by walking through industrial parks on the weekends and just writing down names of companies. Then, I snail mailed them my resume. I mailed out over 100 and got 3 offers.

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I drive around the industrial parks with my husband. He's the driver and I look around at all the businesses. It helps to have 2 sets of eyes. I have found places to apply to this way. The other day we drove around an area I hadn't checked in a long time and found 2 new places that were in my field. Always pays to check areas again since businesses move or expand.

Sometimes I have to go inside the big office buildings to check the names of all the businesses inside. I've found places to apply to this way also.

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Bluetea in Texas

29 months ago

designer bee in Waukesha, Wisconsin said: I drive around the industrial parks with my husband. He's the driver and I look around at all the businesses. It helps to have 2 sets of eyes. I have found places to apply to this way. The other day we drove around an area I hadn't checked in a long time and found 2 new places that were in my field. Always pays to check areas again since businesses move or expand.

Sometimes I have to go inside the big office buildings to check the names of all the businesses inside. I've found places to apply to this way also.

I use to just park and walk through them on Sundays and write down the names of the company to look up later. I would look for places that might have a need for someone with my skills. Not to big and not too small.

I sent out about 100 snail mail letters using something called a broadcast letter format and a few places contacted me. I was eventually hired by a company that made truck parts.

What did I know about truck parts? Nothing. They just wanted someone who could give them 8 hours or work for 8 hours of pay. I actually got to speak with the owner.

Here's the thing. Once you get your next job, it won't be forever. No job is anymore. What are you going to do so that you won't be back here again in a few years?

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designer bee in Waukesha, Wisconsin

29 months ago

Back here in a few years? Try a few months. That's how long the last job lasted.

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Parafreegal in Chicago, Illinois

29 months ago

I have no excuse or explanation. None. I tell them I've been looking for a job. That's the truth. Of course, I get looked at funny and get the sad face as a result. I imagine employers think I'm hiding something. I'm not. The job market has been awful, with my sector having been decimated job wise. This should be known and realized, but it's not.

And I'd never use "caring for a sick parent" to explain a gap. No offense meant to anyone here, but it's going to sound like BS to a prospective employer. Mine were both sick and are now gone, and I worked through the entire ordeal of it all in a nearly three-year period. I honestly don't think interviewers believe anything said about why jobs were left or why there are gaps. I seriously don't.

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designer bee in Waukesha, Wisconsin

29 months ago

I'm not even sure why they are surprised there are people with gaps in this economy. I suppose the best thing is not to whine about how hard it is to find a job. Instead tell them you were looking for a good match, not just any old job. No matter what you say, it will never be good enough.

You can make stuff up if you have to. I could say I used the time to brush up on my software skills, working on various projects, selling artwork, researching my field to learn more about it, polishing up my booger collection and teaching pigs to sing. Whatever you have to tell them to get a job. How much are they going to make you prove that's what you did?

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Dan in Goose Creek, SC

29 months ago

Can't you say you had a baby and took some time off from work to explain the gap in your employment?

Lots of women take time off after having a baby.

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designer bee in Waukesha, Wisconsin

29 months ago

Then they won't hire you because you have kids, which means you'll call in sick more often. That's what they'll be thinking anyway.

I can't use that excuse. We don't have kids. I'll just tell them I was raising dust bunnies and they multiplied. LOL

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Bluetea in Texas

29 months ago

designer bee in Waukesha, Wisconsin said: Then they won't hire you because you have kids, which means you'll call in sick more often. That's what they'll be thinking anyway.

I can't use that excuse. We don't have kids. I'll just tell them I was raising dust bunnies and they multiplied. LOL

No kids? Oh, then you were either in a mental institution for the past 5 years or you were a trophy wife until your soon to be ex-husband found someone 20 years your junior.

Either way, thanks for coming by. We'll be in touch. Bwahahahaha!

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designer bee in Waukesha, Wisconsin

29 months ago

I feel like I've been in a mental institution for the last 10 years. If not, I should be for all I've been through. lol

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Parafreegal in Chicago, Illinois

29 months ago

There really isn't an answer to this question. Hey, I've sent out countless resumes and have had plenty of interviews throughout my period of unemployment. I would have been working the entire time had someone hired me. I don't know why they didn't hire me. I'm perfectly qualified and have the experience and skills to do the job. I just haven't been hired. What exactly is wrong with that scenario?

Of course, employers immediately think you have something shady going on or some sort of issues.

Personally, I need someone to finally see what I can do for them and stop judging me based on being unemployed. The problem is that people who have jobs and haven't been unemployed rarely will have empathy, and you'll be hard pressed to not have a stigma attached to you two minutes into the interview.

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Nancy in Nashville, Tennessee

29 months ago

designer bee in Waukesha, Wisconsin said: I feel like I've been in a mental institution for the last 10 years. If not, I should be for all I've been through. lol

Sweetie, try and stay positive cause things could be a lot worse. I will pray for you and your husband.

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VSGarner in Walnut Cove, North Carolina

27 months ago

I have not tried to cover the caregiver gap. Not quite sure how to phrase it and it certainly doesn't play into IT - unless you count spreadsheets of medications! I carried my own hobby (web site development NOTE: NOT A PRO) on my resume to 2010. But I had to shelve job hunting for a while because I developed a severe spinal stenosis (not genetic or recurring) that left me almost unable to walk. Because I still had some care-giving duties, surgery had to wait. FINALLY last November there was no choice - I had to have the spinal fusion. It worked like the magic bullet and I am fully recovered and been seeking employment.

Just got off the phone with one recruiter whose 'clients' wanted to know what I had done since 2010. I explained as succinct as possible with no long drawn out tale that could be construed as whining. I also made clear MY surgery was a one time fix.

The recruiter asked, "so you did not work from 2010?" I replied "As Caregiver" (thing other adjectives to call him). He informed me my resume was withdrawn and he would apologize to his clients.

Should I just throw a Summa cum Laude Degree (+ some graduate school work) AND 15 year career because of a gap? I cannot even afford to go to school right now or I would have my masters. Continuing courses is not cutting it.

At the end of the rope about to start swinging...

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Bluetea in Texas

27 months ago

VSGarner in Walnut Cove, North Carolina said: The recruiter asked, "so you did not work from 2010?" I replied "As Caregiver" (thing other adjectives to call him). He informed me my resume was withdrawn and he would apologize to his clients.

At the end of the rope about to start swinging...

Same thing happened to me. Every employer will ask "So what have you been doing since ...". There doesn't seem to be a good answer.

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VSGarner in Walnut Cove, North Carolina

27 months ago

AND FOR ONE - what do these yahoos think have been going on since we were laid off or trying to find work!?!? Demand for jobs increase as jobs decrease - simple (catastrophic) economics.

Wish I knew the answer. Or find a compassionate company.

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