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Out of Work? Gap in Resume? How You Account for the Time May Determine If You Work Again

Here’s one of the world’s worst-kept secrets: It’s tough out there.

Despite supposedly-plummeting unemployment and a tighter job market, there are lots of people who’ve been out of work for long periods, and find themselves having to artfully account for that time when they seek work.

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Problem is, too many people are not doing a good job explaining their resume gaps, and are struggling to land work as a result.

An article over at CNBC.com points out that while such gaps don’t have to spell doom to your chances of finding meaningful employment, how much affect they have on your hireability ultimately has a lot to do with just how you explain your situation.

According to certified career development coach Jill Ozovek, your first priority should be to expect an interview question about the resume gap, and be prepared to speak intelligently, even impressively, about it.

Ozovek cites answers like ‘I just got laid off and I've been trying to figure it out’ as the kind that will help ensure you don’t see the inside of a cubicle again.

Instead, says Ozovek, “Be in control of your story. Whether your gap was self-imposed or not, connect the dots and craft a story.”

And what makes for a great story? Having made productive use of that time out of work in such a way that it speaks particularly well of you.

Take classes that add to, or enhance, your professional skill set, to include picking up a certification in an area relevant to your career.

“There’s no shortage of ways to continue to improve yourself,” says Ozovek. “You're doing yourself a disservice if you don't.”

By Robert G. Yetman, Jr. Editor At Large

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