Article discusses several ways of dealing with employment gaps
|An employment gap is a period that lasts for a couple of months to several years, when an applicant is not employed at a job. This may be due to a variety of reasons. A couple of the positive ones are --
• to go back to school to pursue further studies.
• to raise a child (this is especially common for women).
A few negative reasons are:
• Getting laid off due to retrenchment
• Being forced to resign due to several causes
The following may bring either positive or negative results:
• Trying one’s luck in business (this might be a risky move for some, because according to broadcast journalist Karen Davila, in the Ocean Summit held in Panglao, Bohol in November 2016, “only one percent of startups succeed”).
• To help care for a loved one who is ill or an invalid (depending on the gravity or seriousness of the illness or disability, one may not be certain when she can resume working).
Regardless of one’s reasons, employment gaps raise a warning sign to hiring managers. They give off a vibe that a job applicant might be irresponsible, flaky, or has spent a good number of years hopping from one job to another.
If you have inevitably found yourself facing unemployment, or for some reason you remain uncertain about when you can look for work again, here are several ways to fill your time and deal with employment gaps:
Keep Your Skills Current
You can hone your existing skills, or learn new ones, by signing up for free online courses or classes. You can set your own pace and study the course materials during your spare time.
Check out the Job Market section or career supplement of your local broadsheets for articles, or keep tab on a few career-related blogs.
Grow Your Network
Keep a log of your former supervisors’ and colleagues’ contact information. Attending job-related seminars or conventions, albeit occasionally, will expose you to other professionals and resource speakers.
Consider What You Have Learned from Starting a Business
Should worse comes to worst and your startup fails to launch, don’t panic. Create a list by writing down the skills you have acquired as an entrepreneur.
To illustrate, I know a guy who parted ways with his business partner after just two years of launching their startup. Needless to say, he was devastated. But after the initial shock wore off, he began exploring possible employment options again.
While conversing through Facebook Messenger, I pointed out that as a person who’s had a short stint as an entrepreneur, some of his newly acquired skills might have included --
• project management
• cost analysis
• administrative duties
• customer service
Go out and get involved in a worthy cause, even if it’s just a few hours a day, two to three days a week. If you really can’t leave the house, Google “virtual volunteering” and read up on how you can do volunteer work through a computer and reliable internet connection.
Offer to Mentor/Train Someone
One of the best ways to retain your knowledge or keep yourself from getting rusty is to teach newbies, or those desiring to advance from their current level of proficiency.
While you may not be able to hold down a teaching position, offering to mentor or train someone in private will improve your communication and critical thinking skills. Introducing new lessons will also train you to be systematic.
And being a mentor, you need to evaluate someone’s progress, and be as objective yet honest as possible with your criticisms.
Work Freelance (or Part-Time)
This is a good time to accept projects related to your competencies. You can help small businesses with logo, graphic or web design, or do proofreading/editing jobs. You can pitch ideas to blog moderators or contribute articles to magazines or newsletters.
Update Your Resume
Once you see yourself fit to work again, rewrite and customize your resume to the position for which you’re vying. It would be best to choose a functional over a chronological resume to highlight you skills and competencies. If you can, seek the help of a resume writer.