“In the current economy, employers are aware that people could be out of
work through no fault of their own, but resume gaps can still pose a
significant obstacle for job candidates,” said Dave Willmer, executive
director of OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in the
placement of highly skilled administrative professionals.

The survey was developed by OfficeTeam and conducted by an independent
research firm. It is based on telephone interviews with 100 randomly selected
senior executives across Canada.

Executives were asked, “How concerned are you about a candidate’s fit for
a job when his or her resume shows involuntary employment gaps?” Their

Very concerned…………………… 19%

Somewhat concerned……………….. 69%

Not very concerned……………….. 7%

Not concerned at all……………… 4%

Don’t know………………………. 1%

“Applicants who have lengthy periods of unemployment should focus on
quantifying their achievements and emphasizing specific skills and
experience,” said Willmer. “Given the concern by hiring managers, job seekers
may need to address employment gaps upfront in the cover letter or during

OfficeTeam offers the following tips to overcome gaps in employment:

– Provide an explanation. Every situation is different. Proactively
offer a brief explanation for employment gaps in your cover letter or
first interview to alleviate a hiring manager’s potential misgivings.

– Highlight the positive. Use a functional resume format that draws
attention to your achievements, specific skills and strengths, and
other compelling aspects of your work history versus dates of

– Stick to the facts. If you’ve been out of work for a while, it can be
tempting to stretch the truth about your dates of employment. Resist
this urge; not only is it dishonest, it’s also easily discovered by
prospective employers.

– Seek out referrals. If your resume doesn’t capture all that you can
bring to a prospective employer, enlist help from your network of
friends, business colleagues and mentors who can recommend you for
job openings.

– Fill in the gaps. If you’re unemployed, seek out temporary
assignments while you’re looking for a full-time job. A staffing firm
can help you identify opportunities. Another alternative is to offer
your expertise to a nonprofit or volunteer organization. You’ll build
your skills and demonstrate that you’ve been productive while seeking
full-time work.