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Work/Life: How to fill in the gaps on your résumé

On this episode of Work/Life, Ciara Pressler, founder and author of Pregame, talks with Digital Trends’ Greg Nibler about how to deal with having a gap in your résumé when you’re on a job search. She discusses the do’s and don’ts of keeping your résumé up to date so you can still be in the game when it comes to finding new work.

“A résumé gap isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and it’s a lot more common than it used to be,” Pressler begins. There can be a lot of legitimate reasons for that gap — traveling, parenting, continuing education. “But you want to tell that story in a way that puts you in control.”

So how do you do that? “If you’re in a gap right now,” Pressler says, “you still want to stay in the game. Stay sharp, keep your skills up. Even if you’re not working, find ways to stay engaged.” Online studies, freelance work, pro bono work, and volunteering are great ways to keep yourself sharp and ready for the next opportunity. “Not having work isn’t an excuse to not keep building your skills and building your experience. You can group freelance or other gigs together to help bridge that résumé gap.”

She says “résumés are about stating the facts, so do not bend the truth.” There’s an old adage that says, “everyone lies on their résumé,” but that’s just not true — and not advisable. “Don’t do it! It will catch up with you,” says Pressler. What you can do is to put your work history in the best light. Use a cover letter and introductory email to explain what you were doing in those gaps, and what you learned that is relevant to the work you are applying for.

Many of us have experienced or will experience some sort of gap in our résumés, especially during economic downturns. But that “lost time” doesn’t have to be lost, Pressler reminds us. There are opportunities to continue building skills and professional relationships that can and will be beneficial down the line, and taking advantage of them could help give you that needed edge in your job search.

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