Being currently laid-off or having times of unemployment somewhere in your resume is nothing unusual these days. In fact, in the post-crisis era and with global employment trends shifting more and more away from traditional long-term employee statuses, employment gaps are, in my humble opinion, becoming “the new normal.”
Also, every hiring manager knows that company mergers and acquisitions frequently lead to lay-off even for top qualified and top results producing personnel. Quite honestly, I am amazed that some of my highly qualified resume clients still struggle to land an adequate new job within reasonable time.
Of course, a good resume writer that knows his/her trade is a big advantage. But there is a lingering threat that even a good resume writer can’t fix for you:
The “Currently Nothing” Trap
The “currently nothing” trap occurs when you have been laid–off for a while and haven’t done anything worth reporting in the meantime. That is not so much of a problem if you have only been laid-off for a couple of months, but if it has been a year (or possibly more), Hiring Managers or Recruiters would feel better about you as a candidate if you can show something you have done in the meantime.
So, what can you do to show on your resume that you are the “go-get-it” proactive kind of person? Here are a few of my thoughts:
1. Professional Certification And University Certificates
When I was in transition myself a few years ago (yes, it happened to me, too), I enrolled in an online Villanova University Master Certificate in Human Resource Management and became a certified HR professional. I had a bit of a gap in my resume, yes, but I could showcase that my knowledge in the HR industry was up-to-date, and quite frankly, it kept me busy during the day.
Now, do a little bit of research in your field: What University or professional training would add value to your personal brand while in transition?
And don’t forget some of the excellent free resources many universities offer these days (or check out open online courses through, e.g. www.coursera.org, if you have not done that yet)!
I would think that volunteering is so obvious that I almost did not want to include it in this article. Then, I looked at some of the resumes of my clients in transition and noticed that not many use volunteering to fill and avoid the “currently nothing” trap on their resumes.
So, do a little bit of research, and find out who in your area could benefit from your marketing, computer, and finance skills, and so on. There are definitely some groups and folks out there that could benefit from your skills!
3. Start A Networking Group
Starting a networking group is one of my favorite actions to list on the resume of a client. You get to pick the topic you want the group to focus on, invite speakers for your new group, and so on. Generally, a great way to showcase your proactive attitude. A nice side effect is that you will meet a whole bunch of people – all potential leads for your next job offer!
These are my ideas to avoid the “currently nothing” trap. I am sure there are tons of other ways out there. Do you know or recommend any? What is your personal experience?
If you are not sure how to include your pro-active activities on your resume, I provide free resume checks via my website: www.windhof-communications.com
Just send me an email!