Are you about to apply for a new job in healthcare, but unsure how to address the gaps in your resume? There’s no need to stress. It’s extremely common! In fact, gaps in employment history have never been higher. This shouldn’t come as a surprise given the state of the world over the past several years.Are you about to apply for a new job in healthcare, but unsure how to address the gaps in your resume? There’s no need to stress. It’s extremely common! In fact, gaps in employment history have never been higher. This shouldn’t come as a surprise given the state of the world over the past several years.
In the past, common reasons for gaps may have included starting a family, being let go from another job, going back to school, or completing short-term travel contracts as a traveling nurse or therapist. But now, reasons may more often include workplace apprehension due to the pandemic or caregiver responsibilities, such as taking care of children who couldn’t go to school during lockdowns or tending to family members who have long-term side effects from COVID-19.
Common Reasons for Gaps in Your Resume
Completing Travel Contracts
Taking short-term contracts as a nurse or therapist has increased exponentially over the past decade. It is common for healthcare professionals to have periods of time between contracts. Not to worry: If you’re applying for a permanent healthcare position, employers will see your work history and most likely understand the gaps without explanation.
Starting a Family
This reason needs little explanation. Many people choose to take a hiatus from their careers in order have a child, adopt, or foster. Taking time off to start a family is common and generally looked favorably upon. However, this reason will undoubtedly require explanation given the length of the employment gap.
Losing a Job
Losing a job, no matter the reason, is difficult. But try to keep in mind that in many cases, the loss of employment has little to do with the employee. Companies frequently merge, downsize, and restructure, resulting in layoffs. And during the pandemic, many therapists, for example, were let go because restrictions prevented providing in-person care.
If you lose a job, try to put yourself back out in the job market quickly to shorten the gap as much as possible. This will help as you explain your circumstances in an interview and show your resiliency in the process.
Going Back to School
Going back to school, whether to advance your career or change directions, is admirable. A quick way to show this personal growth on your resume is to include an education section and list the months/years of attendance or month/year of completion. As an employer peruses your resume, they should be able to make sense of the employment gap.
Being a Caregiver
Taking care of a family member has always been a reason for temporarily leaving the workforce. With a growing elderly population, plus some suffering long-haul symptoms from COVID-19, families have had to make difficult decisions and sacrifices to care for their loved ones. Additionally, many parents had to put their careers on hold to be home with children who could not attend school in person during the extended lockdown periods.
Being a healthcare professional since 2019 hasn’t been without its trials. And as result, some nurses and therapists had to take a step back to evaluate their career paths. This takes an enormous amount of self-awareness. If you chose to take a step back during a difficult time, consider what has ultimately called you back to the profession and be prepared to share this with your prospective employer.
4 Tips for Explaining Gaps in Your Healthcare Resume
1. Don’t try to hide it.
First, don’t try to hide it. In most situations, you took time away because it’s what you needed to do for your family, or it was out of your control. During an interview, explain your gap matter-of-factly and sincerely.
2. Be honest about the circumstances.
Even though there are a host of reasons why healthcare professionals like you may have gaps in their resumes, do not make up a story. Employers will either see right through it or will find out when they verify your employment history with previous organizations. If you left a job, share why. If you were fired from a job, share what you’ve learned and take responsibility for your actions. Honesty really is the best policy.
3. Share personal growth and accomplishments achieved.
Whether your employment gap is due to starting a family, going to school, being a caregiver, or overcoming workplace apprehension, you’ve achieved something or grown as a person. Employers care about your soft skills and growth just as much as your education and professional achievements.
4. Include details in your CV.
You may be thinking, “This is all great, but what if I never make it to the interview because of the gap on my resume?” Valid point. If you think your gap may prohibit making it to the next level in the hiring process, include what you can about your circumstances on your CV or cover letter. Try to keep it brief but clear enough to eliminate doubts or hesitation from a prospective employer.
Our Guide to Permanent Placement in Healthcare
There you have it! Now, you can relax about that gap in your resume and start applying! Looking for permanent positions in healthcare? We can help! Check out our Guide to Permanent Placement. We have a host of resources designed for the job hunt!