You’re currently unemployed and searching tirelessly for a job. This is a stressful and sometimes very frustrating time for anyone. To make matters worse, there is the pressure looming over you that the experience gap on your CV is growing larger every day that goes by.
For most of us, this is something we experience at one point or another in our lives whilst job searching.
However, an employment gap does not have to hold you back in your job search and you can stop this gap from increasing, regardless of whether you are employed or not. Furthermore, it is possible to turn this time into a positive one, which will impress prospective employers.
This is of course dependent on your financial situation, but if money isn’t a concern, volunteering is a great way to gain new skills, meet people and build confidence.
Volunteering is often flexible, with you choosing your own hours so it won’t disrupt your job search. It can help you gain valuable experience, which will aid you with finding a job.
Some options are:
- working with a charity or NGO which needs extra administrative support.
- working with children/ young people in an educational or therapeutic setting.
- working with vulnerable adults who might need pastoral or practical support.
- gaining retail experience in a busy charity shop.
Resources such as Do-it, or going into your local volunteer service centre can help you find voluntary placements. Opportunities to volunteer really are plentiful.
This step is particularly important for first or second jobbers, or people looking to undertake a career change. Internships are valuable as they give you real, on-the-job experience in an industry you are interested in.
They are typically short-term (2-4 months) but can be longer (10-18 months) and some even end up going permanent. Internships can be paid or unpaid, but it is advisable to search for paid internships. Many companies employing interns and not providing at least the national minimum wage are in fact breaking the law, though the legalities are somewhat blurry.
- Take a course
Looking for marketing roles but feel your analytical skills aren’t up to scratch? Seeking web development jobs but haven’t yet mastered Java Script? Being a jobseeker gives you that all-important time to take up courses, which will revitalise a CV which is missing out some vital skills.
- Learn new skills
Taking a course can be costly and when you are looking for a job, money worries can remove this option. Fortunately, there is a plethora of learning resources at your fingertips online. Using YouTube for tutorials of online programmes and websites such as Code Academy and Moz, it is becoming easier and easier to self-teach yourself new skills that will impress an employer.
- Go temp
If money is a concern, there are ways you can continue earning whilst searching for a job. Working on a temporary contract – otherwise known colloquially as ‘temping’ – is an ideal way of doing this.
Temporary agencies exist to help companies place candidates for non-permanent jobs. These can be as short as one day, and long as 6-12 months. They are particularly popular with jobseekers and students who can fit it around studies and/or job seeking.
A simple Google search of temporary or temp agencies will bring up the most popular ones in your area. The application process is usually very simple, consisting of sending off your CV, and meeting for a face-to-face interview. They will usually ask about your computer proficiency and what type of roles you are comfortable with.
Alternatively, finding a job that allows for flexibility, through being able to work casual hours is another great way to work and keep up your search. Event and hospitality agencies usually offer this mode of working.
It has become clear that mulling over your CV gap is futile for your job search and that there are many ways to alleviate this common problem.
Remember it’s easy to get frustrated and upset when searching for a job. It can require a lot of application form filling, cover letter writing and attending interview after interview and result in many rejections. Although finding ways to fill the gap in your CV is important, it’s also important to remember to make time for yourself to relax, wind down, see friends and spend time doing what you love.