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Don’t sweat the gap in your pandemic resume

Looking to get back to work after a pandemic break? That gap in your resume may not be an obstacle you think it is.

Career stigma has already been suspended Is beginning to decline According to recruiters, job seekers and HR executives, it has been further relaxed in Covid in recent years. Last year, recruitment managers remained aware of all the ways careers could suddenly turn sideways. Childcare pressure, Dismissal From a tattered industry, illness. According to a survey by the job site Monster last fall, 49% of 400 recruiters in the United States believe their resume gap has moved from a danger signal to an acceptable range.

Now the job market is heating And Companies need talent.. Darrell James, an executive recruiter based in Sugar Land, Texas, who counseled people fired from the oil and gas industry, said employers are willing to forgive unemployment up to about two years ago. I am. Even if they quit their jobs before March 2020, many companies postponed hiring last year, so it’s likely that the breaks were prolonged.

“They don’t hold it against you,” he says.

Will the employer’s patience and openness eventually disappear? And how much do you need to share about a pandemic break, especially when it comes to family responsibilities?

People are beginning to wonder, “Can we normalize the need to explain every minute of your life and your career from the day you graduate from college to the day you die?” Tami Forman, executive director of PathForward, a non-profit organization that aims to help people get back to work after taking a vacation for long-term care, says. “I don’t think it’s yet clear if it will permanently change the attitude about leaving the workforce.”

She points out that the bias is still real. Especially before Covid, resume gaps could have tempted recruitment managers to jump to conclusions about a candidate’s work ethic and ambitions. Even today, Forman does not recommend providing detailed explanations of when job seekers are absent from work.

“It’s better than I say,” she advises. “You say it without apology or details.”

Pamela Sosa, the mother of three in Boulder, Colorado, Remote school Pressure that urged her to quit her job last March or to include her previous time as a housewife as an item on her resume.

“If you put it in the front and in the center, that’s the main focus,” she says. Let’s get started right away with what I can do for you. “

But what if you want to share more? Many offices are more open to discussing personal topics. Fertility To mental health, Than before.The pandemic collapsed many of the walls that separate our work from our lives, and children encountered zoom calls and executives. Accept empathy.. LinkedIn Recently created A formal option to ensure that users are housewives, a campaign launched last month by Hey Mama, a social and professional network for working mothers, brings home-acquired skills to CV. We encourage you to add.

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Why isn’t motherhood there when I’m there? Ask Katya Libin, co-founder and CEO of Hey Mama. For her, potty training builds problem-solving skills. Navigating the temper tantrum is a form of crisis management. “We really want to break the stigma.”

In the first few months after Michael Holder, an accountant in High Springs, Florida, quit his job due to viral concerns, he was worried about what the gap would bring to his career outlook.

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“I was thinking.” Well, this doesn’t look good in my resume. I just disappeared from the work grid. Do you think I was a housewife? “” Says Holder. I took care of it full time 3 and 1 since October for his children.

Michael Holder, depicted here with his wife Kathy Holder, has been taking care of Valerie, 1 year old, and Desmond, 3 years old, full-time since October.


Photo:

Michael Holder

However, he says he felt relieved and empowered by the addition of “Stay-at-Home Dad” as a job title for LinkedIn. When he starts job hunting, perhaps when his children can be vaccinated, he will ask keen questions about work flexibility and virus safety and make it clear that he will prioritize his family.

“I’m proud to wear the housewife’s badge,” he says. “If your employer has a problem with it, yes. It’s not the person I want to work for.”

Part of that depends on how difficult you want your job hunting to be and how much you can afford. Speaking can be a good Lithomas exam if you can afford to prioritize a perfect fit rather than needing work right away, Forman says.

Sometimes it can even help form a connection. Nolan Wraith leaned towards a new parent after Covid hurt his consulting business. He became a stay-at-home dad for Baby Mara, born in September. A Seattle resident recently contacted an electric boat company he wanted to work for and said he had lost his workforce since he became a father. It turns out that his contact information was also at home with his son for a year.

“We got over it,” says Wraith. Originally aimed at returning to work in the fall, I was surprised that the company wanted to consider him for a more pressing opportunity.

Employers say that the past year basically acts as an automated answer if the gap may have previously elicited a question. According to Human Resources Director Erin Jordan, at Waltham, Massachusetts-based IT services company NWN Carousel, about a quarter of applications in the last six months featured hiring suspensions and start-ups. “You don’t have to write your entire life story on a piece of paper,” she says. But breaks don’t make them gradual.

“Honestly, it doesn’t even flash,” she says. “This year was a crazy year for everyone.”

Tips for landing work after the break

* Make good use of the gap: Human Resources Director Erin Jordan says she likes to see people get new professional qualifications during breaks. “We’re just looking: what did you do? Did you make good use of it during your vacation, whether professional or personal?”

* Don’t over-explain: Experts say you don’t have to apologize for your vacation or provide endless details, especially at this moment. The pandemic provides a natural inside story.

* Prepare a brief description. Keep in mind that if you were caring for your vacation, it’s an honor to be at home with your family at once and you’re excited to get back to work. Then dive into the skills you can offer.

* Don’t wait long: Two years from the workforce is traditionally a turning point where Mr. Forman tends to see him punished for absenteeism. If you have been unemployed since the pandemic began, this fall will be 18 months. This isn’t a bad time to try to get it back, Forman says. “The longer the gap, the harder it is.”

* Take time: Remember that getting a job is a job in itself. Give yourself permission to spend the time you need for networking, applying, and interviewing.

Write to Rachel Finezeig rachel.feintzeig@wsj.com

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Don’t sweat the gap in your pandemic resume

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