Whether you have a job or are currently looking for a job, you as the employee are in charge of your career development. If you already have a job, you might think you don’t need to develop anymore, but that attitude is a sure fire way to find yourself without a job. As an employee, you constantly have to be learning and seeking to be a better employee.
When you apply for a new job, potential employers are going to look at your resume and they may notice a few career gaps. These gaps occur when you go through a period of unemployment. While this happens to almost everyone, it’s what you do with those gaps that matters.
Employers are going to ask you about career gaps and how you spent your time. You want to project that you working towards improving yourself during those times you were out of work. Did you spend your time learning? Traveling? Volunteering? Moping around? Turning these career gaps into a positive experience will not only help you personally, but will increase your chances of landing your next job. Below, you’ll find 10 ways to turn your career gaps into something positive:
Take a Class
More than likely, your field of work is constantly changing; using this gap period to enhance your knowledge or learn new things can give you a competitive advantage when it comes to finding your next job.
Whether you decide to help out at a local animal shelter or tutor kids, being able to place volunteer experiences on your resume is a real differentiator. Potential employers will see this and recognize you as having empathy and a strong work ethic.
Join a Professional Organization
Go beyond being a “member” of a professional organization. Be engaged in activities and take initiative to be a leader. Not only with this help you branch out and expand your network, it will give you valuable skills for your future job.
Mentioned above, your career gap can be a great time to meet new people and expand your professional network. By doing this, you can make great connections that could end up helping you both personally and professionally.
Become an Intern
No matter where you are at in your career, an internship can be a great experience. This could be your chance to learn a new skill, humble yourself, or just ensure that you are building your resume experiences.
Do you have a lot of experience in your field? Take this opportunity to teach others about what you do. Maybe you just want to share one of your hobbies with others- no matter what, a teaching experience can help you become a better communicator, establish yourself as a leader, and allow you to meet new people.
Start a Business
Have you always dreamed of owning your own business? Do you have an original idea or innovation? This gap period could be exactly what you need to start your business. Take a chance and see what happens. Just make sure you think everything through first.
If you don’t want to start a business, but need to keep working, then you should consider freelancing or consulting. As an expert in your field, businesses may be looking for your expertise. Start small and build your way up. Be sure to use your professional network to get a few accounts.
If you have money saved up, you can use this time to travel to a new place. Doing this may not seem like it has much impact on your career, but when you travel somewhere new you are stepping outside of your comfort zone, being independent, and being detail-oriented.
Relax and Refresh
Sometimes, these resume gaps are the perfect opportunities to relax and refresh. Maybe you feel a little burnt out and you need to recover. Take this time to do that. Rediscover why you love your field of work and get your passion back.
Remember, career gaps don’t have to be a negative thing on your resume. In fact, you can make career gaps into a positive and rewarding situation. Instead of moping around because you don’t have a job, you can do something to better yourself, your community, and your career.
What have you done to fill in your career gaps? Leave your stories and advice in the comments section below!
Image Credit: freedigitalphotos.net
Over the last few weeks, we’ve talked about using social media to find a job. We’ve talked about building a personal brand, sharing content on Twitter, and keeping it professional on LinkedIn, but there’s one more network you need to know about. Using Facebook to find a job may seem like a strange concept, but it works. You just need to know how to go about using the site to your advantage.
Getting started with social recruiting can seem like a daunting task, but once you plan things out and know what is ahead of you, the process becomes much simpler and easier to handle. When it comes to using LinkedIn to recruit, it’s all about connecting with people and the network really makes that easy for you. Here are some tips on using LinkedIn to recruit:
A lot of thoughts and theories exist out there when it comes to finding top talent for any industry. You have to choose from dozens of different online job boards. Then there are traditional postings like newspapers. And in today’s world, many companies are turning to social media to find talent. But at the end of the process, you need a specific type of talent. You need to find and keep top talent.
Wanting the best of the best is not enough to actually get you the best of the best. It takes time and effort to succeed at finding and keeping top talent. However, the efforts you make will be worth it in the end because you can reduce your costs and turnover rates by finding top talent in the first place.
As a courtesy to our candidates, Diverse Staffing has compiled some critical advice for candidates from some of the top professionals in the employment industry. Some thoughts as you consider your next career decision:
Headhunters Work for the Client
Headhunters work for the client, not for the candidate. Candidates should expect fair and honest treatment from headhunters, but not inside information on hiring organizations or about other candidates. “The headhunter is a broker, not a guide or coach.” (Moats-Kennedy, “What the Recruiter Won’t Tell You,” Healthcare Executive, Chicago).
Call Before You Need Us
The best time for individuals to contact a recruiter is when they don’t need one. Around 64% of executive level positions in the U.S. are filled through professional recruiters. The majority of corporate chiefs have dealt with headhunters at one time or another during their careers. Potential candidates (that is, every employed person) should remember this in their dealings with recruiters (Sheldon: review of Reynolds “Be Hunted,” Communication World, San Francisco).
The Bottom Line
Employees should also bear in mind the material bottom line when they go to work, and regard their current employer with a degree of instrumentality. At the end of the day, labor is just another economic factor input. A better deal may be out there (The Princeton Report, Princeton Search Group).
Know Who the Top Recruiters Are
Candidates should be aware of the top recruiters in their industry and should ensure that they have a profile that headhunters will notice. “With any new search assignment, recruiters often take a quick personal inventory and identify people who may be perfect for the job they have been hired to fill” (Ransom, “An Insider’s Look at Recruiters and Recruiting,” Physician Executive, Nov/Dec 2003.)
NOTE: Professional candidates can improve their profile proactively by making themselves available to the media, by writing articles in trade journals and through networking.
A Form of Representation
Executive recruiters provide candidates with a form of representation that can provide an advantage when seeking a new job (Neil, “Facing Up to Headhunters,” ABA Journal, Chicago, Aug. 2003). Employers may take prospective hires more seriously if they are represented by a third party. Since clients usually only engage headhunters when they need to fill a vacancy, candidates can be sure that they are being put forward for genuine openings and are not applying for jobs that have already been filled prior to being advertised.
Be Sure You’re a Contender
When seeking a position through a headhunter, candidates should ensure that they have the qualifications and experience specified. “Most search consultants would agree that unless you meet at least 80% of the job specifications, you aren’t a contender” (Tyler, “Hey, You! Look at Me!” Healthcare Financial Management, Nov. 2003).
NOTE: Clients expect recruitment firms to put forward only those candidates that closely match their specific requirements. Experienced headhunters are very adept at screening job seekers.
If this advice for candidates seems a little daunting to you, then contact Diverse Staffing at 317.803.2910 for help on finding your next job.