Don’t Let an Employment Gap Sabotage Your Houston Job Search

In today’s economy, with unemployment stuck at above 9%, a gap in employment is not uncommon. However, these gaps can still be a big red flag for a potential employer. What’s worse is that for some hiring managers, there’s a misperception that good employees don’t get laid off. So while you’re certainly facing an obstacle when it comes to finding a new job in Houston, Texas, you can overcome it by spinning the negative into a positive. Here’s how.

1. Explain the gap in your cover letter.

That said, don’t start off your letter by talking about it. Instead, focus on why you’re a good fit for the job and what you can do for the employer. Then include a line or two about the gap in employment. Don’t go into detail about the bad economy and a frustrating job search; simply state that you were out of the workforce for a short period and are eager to return. If the gap in employment occurred many years ago, don’t mention it at all.

2. Don’t draw too much attention to the gap on your resume.

If most of your past positions span many years, then don’t include a month and year. Just include the year.

So for instance:

Account Executive
2007 – 2011

Rather than:

Account Executive
January 2007 – February 2011

Also, don’t use bold fonts for dates on your resume. That said, hiring managers aren’t dumb and will certainly be aware that there is a gap. But by underplaying it and focusing on your positive attributes, you could get your foot in the door.

3. Fill the gap.

While you’re searching for Houston jobs, try to do some consulting or freelance work in order to fill the gap. There is no requirement that you have to be paid for the work on your resume, so volunteer work counts here, as well. But if you can, don’t call it “volunteer work.” Include a job title, like you would for a paid job.

4. Make yourself more marketable.

Take a class to sharpen an old skill or get certified in a new one. Include this experience at the top of your resume and in your cover letter and explain how this skill will help you perform the job.

5. Be honest.

Today, many employers verify employment. So even a little white lie can take you out of the running for a position.

If you’d like some professional help with your Houston, Texas job search, please contact Murray Resources. We work with many of Houston’s top employers, including leaders in the energy industry, Fortune 500 firms, financial services firms, legal and medical practices, as well as dozens of other small to mid-sized employers. As a result, we can help match you with a job in Houston that’s a terrific fit for you!