Top resume myth debunked: Gaps actually work to your advantage

In an earlier article, I wrote about how to explain gaps in your resume according to a top recruiter.

However, recently some notable companies have started to understand how gaps in a resume can actually be a desirable entry in an applicant’s history.

History no longer repeats itself

In prior decades, a gap in a resume indicated the applicant may have been fired, unable to get a job, and generally not a quality candidate. In recent history, thanks to millennials, this ideology has slowly started to change. 

Millennials and Generation Z employees are known for changing careers quickly and often to benefit their own needs and desires. The old ways of working for the same company for 30 or more years are quickly becoming a past practice. 

Younger workers are committed to their passions and skill sets rather than specific companies like their parents and grandparents. Because of this shift in practice, workers actively seek out new opportunities to pursue new jobs or careers that better align with their passion. 

Chasing passions and shifting with change

One of the benefits of this trend is quick advancements in technology because people are no longer stuck in one job for the rest of their lives. By continually putting the most qualified candidates in positions, both companies and employees alike have developed innovative ways to solve some of the most challenging problems.

During the Covid pandemic, many people left the workplace to focus on where their passions took them – to care for their family. Many women, more than two million of them, left the workforce to care for their families during the pandemic. Companies such as LinkedIn have begun to recognize these qualities as being necessary to a well-rounded employee.

LinkedIn is changing the game

Recently, LinkedIn announced that their profiles allow for “Stay at Home Parent” as a current employment status to differentiate time spent away from the paid workforce. LinkedIn made this step to normalize resume gaps for those who have chosen to take time away from the paid workplace environment. 

Other companies have developed return-to-work programs to reintegrate those who have experienced a lapse in traditional employment. It turns out, in certain circumstances, taking breaks from formal work may actually be a good thing on a resume. It can show your dedication to something greater than yourself, such as caring for a family member. The well-rounded nature of employees who can shift their focus to realign their lives with their passions is highly beneficial. 

Because more people are listing breaks from traditional employment on their resume, today, 34% of the Fortune 50 companies have implemented return-to-work programs. These programs focus on developing employees and using their strengths to benefit both the company and the employee.

Another benefit of dismantling the traditional ideology of working for the same company for the rest of your life is the ability to induce personal and company change. Previous long-term employees may have grown bored of their current role but stayed minimally productive for the next decade or so because “that’s what you do.”

Continually searching for the best fit

The new workforce drops tedious old employers for new exciting opportunities. This perpetuates an ever-evolving and growing environment that fosters creativity and passion.

And businesses are starting to recognize this. Rather than looking at gaps in a resume as an indicator of a lazy or inept employee, these gaps can actually show the applicant has been actively looking for a job that aligns with their passions and skillsets. 

Gaps in a resume can show the applicant is courageous and desires freedom in their everyday life. While this can be scary for some employers, being able to harness this creativity and courage can favor everyone.

Treating employees like humans

Rather than forcing an employee to remain stuck in a job field, they are no longer qualified for or interested in, gaps can show a desire to find a perfect fit.

The old thought of employees are just cogs in a machine is no longer relevant. 

Companies and employees alike have started to realize there is a human element to the workforce. And as soon as we start treating employees like people, a tremendous amount of power and passion can be harnessed to create remarkable positive change in our world.