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Consumer
Employment gaps slow growth hinder job seekers
WASHINGTON (10/25/10)--Unemployed and underemployed job-seekers continue to face an uphill battle in today’s economy. Slow economic growth is leading to weak hiring even though unemployment claims fell during the first week of October to their lowest level since July (businesweek.com Oct. 14). Those with large gaps in employment history on their resume face additional hurdles. Potential employers may view a disruption in work history as a lack of commitment, focus, or a bad work experience a job seeker is attempting to hide (wsj.com Oct. 18). All is not lost for job-seekers with large gaps in their work histories. Here are three ways to help potential employers better understand your situation and put to rest any doubts that may arise due to resume gaps:
* Clarify connections. No matter the reason behind employment gaps, use a brief sentence in your cover letter to help explain the situation in a positive light. Describe how your situation gives you unique insight and experience that will directly benefit your potential employer. * Amplify activity. Amplify entry-level stop-gap jobs, training, or other time-fillers like volunteer work. Your experience with customers or learning a new competency may have provided you with valuable skills and understanding that uniquely qualify you for a position. * Demonstrate development. Emphasize what you learned if you left a previous employer on bad terms. Use this as an opportunity to emphasize character growth and your ability to learn from a miscalculation. This demonstrates a level of responsibility and maturity that may separate you from other applicants.
For more information, read “Get Back in the Game After Losing a Job” in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center.


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