Returning to work: How to address a gap in employment

2 people shaking hands over a laptop

Every person has their own reason for stepping away from the workforce. While some lost jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, others chose to become full-time, stay-at-home parents, or to focus on something outside of their career for a while. If you’re one of these people and have decided it’s time to re-enter the workforce, addressing a gap in employment can be intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be. The way companies view employment gaps has changed a lot in recent years, and many are becoming more open-minded than ever when it comes to who they hire and understanding why candidates may have taken gaps. Our team of recruiters can guide you through the process of finding new employment, regardless of how long you’ve been out of work and for what reason. For candidates, being open about your search and starting point will be key to making the first step back into the workforce.

Addressing employment gaps on your resume

So, you’re ready to dust off your resume and get in front of potential employers. The best way to approach your employment gap on a resume is determined by how long of a break you took.

If your employment gap is more than a year, our recruiters recommend adding one line to briefly explain why in the summary portion of your resume. Keep this message professional and short with your explanation, listing what you were doing and for how long. But if your time away from the workforce was extensive, you could list your gap as if it were your last employer. For example, you could list “Stay-at-home parent—2009-2015,” instead of just listing your most recent employment from 2009 on your resume. There is no need for additional details like this if it has been less than a year since you were last employed. You can always provide more details during a phone call or interview.

Addressing employment gaps in an interview

Your potential employer should already be aware of your employment gap during the interview phase of the hiring process. That does not mean you should ignore it in conversations with them moving forward. Be upfront about your gap in work during the interview. A good time to do this is when talking through your previous work experience. Know what you would like to say ahead of time and keep the conversation positive. You can also transition the conversation to ways you kept your skills fresh and relevant during that time and why you would be a great fit for the opportunity.

What job is best for you?

Every candidate returns to the workforce differently. Our recruiters can help place candidates in accounting and finance, administration, HR, IT, sales, marketing and operations, education and healthcare IT roles, and candidates have the choice of moving forward with full-time, part-time or temporary employment opportunities. Temporary assignments can range from helping a client for a day while someone is out due to illness or is on vacation, to an open-ended assignment that could last weeks, or even months, depending on the client’s needs and your availability. These can be great options for someone who needs a flexible schedule or is just wanting to stay busy a few days a week. Substitute teaching is another great option for jobseekers re-entering the workforce. Substitutes with Morgan Hunter Education have control of their work calendars, picking when and how often they would like to fill-in. Starting with these options would allow you to try new things and find the direction you want to pursue. Rejoining the workforce can also act as a transitional point in your career. Working on a temporary basis will allow you to see the different opportunities available and the companies hiring in Kansas City right now – as well as what they offer and how these opportunities could allow you to freshen up your skills before jumping right in.

Part-time employment isn’t the only path back into the working world, though. Employers are still willing to hire someone with a gap in their employment history if they have the right skillset for the job. If you’re ready to go back to work full-time, keep an open mind and remember to stay positive. Take some time to look at each job posting and make a list of things that stand out to you both positively and negatively.

Work with a recruiter to find the right fit

Working with a recruiter can be one of the most beneficial tools for returning to the workforce. We’ve built relationships with our clients, so they trust us and listen to what we have to say about candidates. Working with a recruiter while trying to re-enter the workforce allows us to highlight your skill set and explain your job history and gaps to our trusted clients. We understand that re-entering the workforce can be intimidating, which is why our team of recruiters at Morgan Hunter take the time to help find opportunities that fit what you’re looking for, help prepare you for an interview and practice with you to get back in the swing of things.

Returning to the workplace can be a painless process with the right help. If you’re considering returning to work—whether it’s been five months or five years—Morgan Hunter can help. To speak with one of our recruiters about job openings or tips for refreshing your resume after a gap in employment, contact us today!

Rachel Hays is a recruiter with the Administrative team of Morgan Hunter, serving Kansas City-area employers to help them meet a range of hiring needs, from temporary staffing to direct-hire placements. Share your thoughts on FacebookLinkedIn or on Twitter @MorganHunterCo.