If you have ever been out of work for an extended period, you may have a job gap on your resume. A job gap sometimes results in a red flag when recruiters screen your resume. Recruiters may wonder if you were in jail, working at a job from which you have since been fired, or whether you were covering something else up.
If a job gap is making it hard for you to re-enter the workforce, consider picking up consulting work or contract positions. Even short-term projects can help show your commitment to your career, your ability to handle projects, and your job-ready skills. And, if you use a functional or combination resume, you can lump your experience highlights and accomplishments under "Experience Highlights" to help deflect attention from your work dates.
In cases where a job gap has led you to question your abilities and personal qualities, consulting and contract work can help you ease into work. You’ll be using your skills, working with people, and meeting goals — for pay. This can help resolve many of the anxieties linked to unemployment — and help you interview with confidence. It’s much easier to go into an interview when you can point to recent accomplishments.
If you have trouble finding consulting work, you might want to consider volunteering. With one or two volunteer projects under your belt, you’ll be able to point to recent accomplishments and the value you created for an organization. And no one can suggest you’ve been spinning your wheels.
However, don’t be tempted to cover up unemployment by saying you were "consulting". If you can’t point to actual examples of consulting work, employers will know you’re bluffing.
"Covering a job gap with consulting" from Become a Consultant at ConsultantJournal.com.