Candidates who have not worked for a long time are usually screened out at the resume stage. And it is with a resume that you need to start to increase your chances of a successful career. A break in a candidate’s work is a risk zone from an employer’s point of view. Several questions arise at once.
- Has the level of the candidate’s professional skills dropped significantly during this time?
- What is his motivation?
- What has changed in his life? Why is there an urgent need to go to work right now?
- How deliberate is this step?
Therefore, it is essential to correctly play this break in the resume, cover letter, and interview.
What difficulties will arise when looking for a job after a break
The candidate’s resume will have a low open rate; the number of responses will be minimal. As a result, virtually no invitations to interviews will appear. Why? If we are talking about HH.ru, the recruiter receives your response in an abbreviated form.
Based on the information he sees, the recruiter decides whether to go to the full version of the resume. The logic is this; if the period of active work ends, for example, in 2015, the recruiter needs to contact you, clarify what you have been doing for the last three years (were you sick? Studied? Were on maternity leave?). This takes additional time, and if there are many candidates with more recent experience and no “aggravating” circumstances, they will be preferred.
How to fix the situation:
- By competently adjusting the resume.
- Placing the necessary accents in it.
- Writing targeted cover letters.
- The manifestation of additional activity (training, demonstration of increased motivation, reaching out to people who know you by past merits before the break).
How to write a resume
A resume and cover letter is the first contact with an employer. Therefore, it is necessary at this stage to dispel his doubts. How to do it? Explain the reason for the break and show that nothing is stopping you from working now. You also need to strengthen your position in comparison with the average candidate. You should be a cut above, to help – the results of previous activities, over-motivation, additional training, and so on.
Let’s look at the common reasons for interruptions in work activities and what concerns they cause among employers, and how to neutralize them.
What scares: lost her qualifications, frequent sick leave to care for a child.
What to write
For example, the About me box indicates: “From 2016 to 2018, I was on parental leave. The child goes to the garden. The adaptation period was successful. Two grandmothers and a nanny are in the wings. ” And the control shot: “I miss my job, I really want to be useful to the new employer.”
What is scary: not focused on intense activity, motivation is incomprehensible.
What to write
“The last three years have been a housewife. At the moment, he is the only breadwinner in the family. I am considering the vacancy of an SMM-marketer; three months ago, I received a diploma in the specialty “SMM-manager.” Thesis – on the topic of business promotion in social networks. She worked on several projects; customer reviews can be found here. “
Illness or injury
Scary: How it will affect work
What to write
“From July 2017 to March 2018 – recovery from a broken leg. Now I am completely healthy, looking for a full-time office job.”
Caring for a relative
What is scary: the repetition of the situation.
What to write
“The last six months have been caring for a seriously ill relative. At the moment, there is no such need; priority is work. “
Long job search
What scares: the candidate is a “downed pilot.”
What to write
The ideal option is to “cover-up” with project activities.
“From April 2016 to the present, I have successfully implemented two projects:
- The federal network of medical clinics “. Objective: research of satisfaction with the franchise program. Result: developed questionnaires, analyzed survey results, prepared reports indicating key growth points, and recommendations for program optimization.
- Bank “. Objective: development of a system for regular analysis of customer satisfaction. Result: proposed a set of metrics, mechanics, and methods of data collection, thresholds. The customer implemented the analysis system”.
What’s scary: the candidate is an eternal student.
What to write
“For the last two years, I studied at the Norwegian School of Economics (NHH), specializing in finance. I really want to apply my previous experience and acquired knowledge of working in your company’s financial department. “
What is scary: the candidate is used to freedom, it won’t be easy to manage such an employee.
What to write
We link our skills to the employer’s requirements and attach a portfolio with the best works on the topic of the request. We explain why we want to hire (honestly, but carefully).
What’s scary: the same as a freelancer.
What to write
We link our skills with the employer’s requirements, prove our work with facts, and work’s effectiveness shows how we plan to solve the employer’s problems. We substantiate our motivation for switching to hiring, present an entrepreneurial type of thinking as our advantage.
And a couple more tips.
- Remember, employers are less interested in how long you work. More importantly, what you can do and how you can prove it.
- Be very careful in terms of wording. Avoid a lot of exclamation marks. Recruiters will react coldly to the phrases “Do not bother recruiting agency representatives!” or “Don’t waste my time on offers with gray salaries !!!” I also saw such options: “I’m tired of explaining that I didn’t work because I was in three decrees!”
How to write a cover letter
Cover letters are not a guarantee of inviting you to an interview, but they greatly increase your chances. This is especially important during a career break because the right cover letter will contain information to help the employer choose you.
- Write briefly; only the essence (the recruiter has little time and a lot of applicants).
- The text should contain facts supporting your performance. The employer needs specificity and proof of your words.
- Study the vacancy requirements, write about your relevant experience, about how you can be useful.
- Carefully add an explanation of the reason for the break in the text.
- Explain your motivation: why you decided to apply for a job posting.
- Add a call to action: “I’m ready to talk in more detail about the benefits I can bring to the company” or “I would be happy to talk about the tools I use in this area.”
What to say in an interview
The interview is great. You passed the first level of the funnel, and you were invited for an interview. But do not relax, as it is necessary to show your true motivation. Compare the two situations.
Manager: “As you can see from your resume, you have had a hiatus since the end of 2017. What did you do? “
Candidate 1: “I was tired; I decided to take a break, then I could not find a job for a long time …”
Candidate 2: “While looking for a job, I finally found time to improve my English and passed the exam, held several consultations for former partners and clients. Examples are in my portfolio. “
Who do you think the employer would prefer?
See yourself through the eyes of a potential leader. What would embarrass you? What points would you doubt? Read between the lines, hear by tone, the focus of the questions being asked, and help the interviewer find a rebuttal to his hypotheses. Thus, your main task in the interview is to convince the employer of your value.
- Answer uncomfortable questions calmly, confidently, and in a positive manner.
- Let’s give detailed, not monosyllabic answers.
- Do not come to interviews empty-handed; if you are a literary editor, bring your best books; if you are an analyst, show the reporting form you have developed, which saves a lot of time.
- If you are witty and know that it would be an appropriate joke.
Also read: How to Prepare for a Financial Crisis.
What to do if you want to change the field of activity
If we consider this step in parallel with a long break from work, then there are two pieces of news, good and bad. Bad: moving from one area to another is never easy. Good: you have time to prepare for entering the labor market in a new capacity.
- Find out where you are now: assess your current skills, position, experience in general.
- Decide where you want to go: define your target position.
- Assess the gap: what are you missing for this transition to take place.
- Assess the reality of the transition.
- Find out where you can acquire the required knowledge, skills, and abilities. For example, what courses and books will help you. You might need to talk to an expert or find a mentor.
- Look for entry points to a new profession. Complete projects on training courses, help friends (any real case is better than theory), do test tasks for vacancies. Take internships, including free ones, find a freelancer who will give you some simple work with a feedback condition and analysis of mistakes. There are many options.
- Expect the transition from several months to several years (depending on the difference between current and target skills). You will need to study, work, and develop a lot and methodically.
Adapted and translated by The Cop Cart Staff
Sources: Life hacker