John Borrowman, CPC
Borrowman Baker, LLC
One of the biggest social taboos and hiring prejudices arises from having been ‘unemployed’. Believe it or not, one survey reported in Forbes suggests that it’s harder to place an unemployed person than it is to place someone with a criminal record.
The recent recession was difficult enough that it triggered redundancies and unemployment for the first time in BV. This means that some have been left with a blot on an otherwise perfect work history – and you may now have one or more gaps in your resume.
So, what is a business valuation professional to do about this problem? Ignore it? This is not advisable, as employers will pay close attention to gaps and may often fear the worst, (even though in a perfect world, they’d reserve judgment until speaking to you). Some will conclude that you were laid off as a lower end performer, fired and/or not easily employable, even though the reality may be much more positive and acceptable.
This is why it’s important to face up to the gaps and explain them in the most effective way possible. For starters, self-employment can be considered a gap – and a mask for unemployment – if not explained properly. So, if you have periods of self-employment in your resume, make them appear as credible as possible by including: trading name, listing clients, project values etc.
Being laid off should also be explained, as some employers may assume you were laid off due to being a lower performer. So, explain the circumstances of the layoff; perhaps the whole department was shut down due to external circumstances beyond your control. Also, get recommendations to show you were a good performer.
If you were fired, you’ll of course need to be up front during your interview and squash any speculation. Explain why you were fired, pointing out that you accept some responsibility. Don’t blame others. Explain lessons learned and what you’ve done to stop it happening again; this could be training or focusing in on jobs which play to your strengths.
Employers look favorably on volunteering according to this Deloitte Study so ensure to outline any unpaid work activity, just like an employment entry, along with any training.
If you do have a troublesome gap in your resume, don’t ignore it. Apply this patch. And whatever you do, be sure to be truthful and positive.