If there is a
gap in your employment you are immediately at a
disadvantage when applying for jobs. If you don't believe it, Google
"employment gap" or
discrimination" and read the news. Some employers have said
they're unwilling to hire
unemployed workers because they believe that if
a worker has once been let go, that's a sign that he or she is probably
not a great hire. Others believe that if someone is out of work for an
extended period of time, their basic
work skills (taking orders, showing up to work
on time, etc.) will erode and make them less valuable to the company.
When considering how your resume or work history looks to a potential
employer remember that a
gap in your employment
looks like a black eye on an otherwise attractive face. Their first
question may be why do you have the
gap? In most cases though you are not around to
explain in your own words what happened. In that case employers may tend
to answer their own question with the biases listed above. It is important
to legitimately eliminate the
employment gap all together. You must have
something productive listed on your resume for current activity. We'll see
five examples below on how to do that.
Hours are not important. When was the last time you saw any resume that
noted how many hours were worked at the job? It doesn't matter how many
hours you spend doing the current productive activity you will be involved
in. If you are working 1 hour every day answering the phones at your
friend's business, your resume would show that you currently hold an
administrative assistant position. Your resume wouldn't say "I spend 5
hours a week helping out my best friend during lunch".
1. Temporary work agencies.
Temporary work agencies are staffed by professional job finders. They are
employers all day long looking for work and are
some of the most networked people in the business world. Their first
priority is to know where the jobs are. Their next priority is to match
you up with one of those jobs! The beauty of working with a temp agency is
the flexibility. You can find work for one day or for many months.
While the library most likely will not pay you they will probably have
something you can do to help out. Larger libraries host a wide variety of
programs for all ages and segments of the community. One idea in
particular is to be a mentor or coach. Those are always in need. What can
you teach others to do? Are you a teacher - teach someone to read. Are you
a software developer - teach someone to use a computer, software, or the
web. Are you a nurse - teach someone to eat right or exercise properly.
The list can go on and on. Go to the library, ask for the library
director, tell her what your skills are, and ask to be matched up with an
appropriate program. Then update your resume to say "Community Coach",
"Mentor", or "Consultant".