If you are like millions of Americans over the past 7 years you may look at your resume and realize at some point you have a significant gap between jobs. This is a problem that has many implications. Outside of the fact that time lost on a job is money lost in your bank, it poses a very real and serious threat for your future….getting hired again.
While it may seem natural to think that organizations realize you may have a job gap because the economy tanked in 2008, and took several years to recover, but the reality is many of them don’t care. From a company’s standpoint, they realize that the economy caused a lot of job losses, but they feel there must be a reason that you aren’t hired soon after being let go. They may think that if you didn’t make the cut at your previous employer then you won’t make the cut at their company. Or they think that even if your termination was unavoidable that you should still be hired soon afterwards if you are a good employee with good skills. They may even think that you are lazy and aren’t trying to find new employment, and if that were the case, of course they aren’t going to be interested in you.
I tell people in the unfortunate position of being laid off that the best thing they can do for themselves is to get a job as soon as possible. Even if that means you are taking a less desirable position. That way when you apply to a position that you do want the company will not look at you as someone to shy away from. Plus it keeps money in your bank and keeps your skills sharp.
If after being let go from your employer you find that there aren’t any positions available that you really want, at the pay you want, then I suggest taking on a contract role. Many companies these days have moved to a “try before you buy” approach where they hire people on a contract basis, usually for anywhere from 3-12 months, then if it works out they will offer that person a permanent role. Sure there are some drawbacks to contract positions such as lack of benefits and paid time off, but there are many positives too. For one, the recruitment agency that you work with may offer benefits after 60-90 days. You are also typically paid more on a contract position than permanent positions due you having to pay for health benefits on your own.
But the biggest and best reason to take a contract position when you can’t find a permanent one that suits you is that you get to keep working. And if you are continually working, then you are attractive to companies that seek a person with your skill set. Plus it is easier to explain multiple jobs in a short period of time if those jobs are contract positions that have a start and end date compared to just jumping around. Not to mention you don’t have a loss of income.
Sometimes having a job gap is completely unavoidable. Maybe you have a sick family member to take care of, or you were sick yourself for an extended period of time. Those are legitimate excuses and most companies will look beyond the job gap if you have a valid reason for it. But if you don’t, I would recommend doing your best to have no more than a 2 month gap on your resume.
So if you find yourself without a job for whatever reason, get back on the horse. Call a temp agency or staffing agency and see if they can help. But don’t let your ego keep you from working or finding work will eventually prove harder than you think.
About ARC Group©
ARC Group©, the parent company of Recruitment Intelligence™, has been an industry front runner in the last 30 years in the full-time, contract and temp-to-hire staffing and consulting industries. Awarded to the South Florida, Jacksonville and Minnesota’s Business Journal’s collection of “Top 25 Executive Search & Consulting Firms” we have a national presence, and provide a service throughout the US, including Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Minnesota, Chicago and Washington.