The current state of the world demands that employers, recruiters and the like, shift their perspective when it comes to the archaic way in which a resume is viewed and how potential candidates are considered for opportunities.
Let’s be real.
A worldwide pandemic, millions of people out of work and you zone in on why there is a four-month gap in someone’s resume after they have served in their respective field for over two to three decades? Even if there wasn’t a pandemic happening, don’t people deserve a little bit of time regardless of how we have been sordidly conditioned to looking at a gap in someone’s career as, “Oh shit, something has got to be wrong with this person.”
I am guilty of it, too. I have been reviewing resumes and recruiting people to be a part of my executive teams for years and have also been suspicious of time gaps in people’s resumes and that is okay. I should be, you should be.
But if you are going to focus so much on it, are you really ready to hear about the gap in someone’s resume? You have no idea what the potential candidate is going to tell you or what their reasoning is and most likely, it is of a personal nature. Can you handle it? Can you compartmentalize the information you are receiving?
I am experiencing this now. I have a gap in my resume right now. My 13-year-old daughter passed away in February, unexpectedly.
What is the expectation here? That I was going to roll through a Starbucks that following Monday and show up to work in one of my cute dresses? Get out of my face!
As I explore meaningful opportunities to see where and how I want to work now that my life has changed forever, I am met with this question with every meeting I have.
Employer/Recruiter- “Well, I see you have not worked since February, can you tell me why?”
Me- “Well, Michelle, you see, my daughter passed away unexpectedly in February, so I really haven’t felt much like working.”
Needless to say, the employer/recruiter doesn’t know how to respond to this type of information just like any ordinary person in my life doesn’t. Brief condolences are usually offered and then the meeting keeps on moving.
But then what happens? What impressions has this most likely junior person created about me and did they delete my information immediately? Do they realize or have I not articulated appropriately that I am a seasoned high-level operations executive with a skill set transferrable to any sector of business?
Do they think I am not ready?
Nobody but me gets to determine if I am ready and if you are lucky enough to have my resume come across your desk, I assure you, I meant to send it.
I am not out here alone. There are a lot of us out here. People that have spent their lives building their professional reputation, have given it everything they have and may have stumbled across some really unfortunate life experiences.
I have dedicated twenty-three years of my life to ensuring that other people are positioned on a track for a quality of life that far exceeded anything they thought would occur in their lives and creating levels of human service delivery for thousands of people that are vulnerable and marginalized.
What people out of work are experiencing now is real. Nobody is on vacation right now even though we could all use one.
Grit and character emerge when life happens, not when the formula on a spreadsheet doesn’t work.
I choose grit over tenure any day of the week.
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