One of the things I’ve learned while job hunting is that employers aren’t fans of gaps in your employment record.
Recruitment and resume writing companies say it’s a bad look, as if you’ve been lying on a beach in Rarotonga eating pineapple and pretending to write the great Australian novel the whole time.
Which admittedly doesn’t sound bad as a lifestyle, but for almost all of us that’s not really anything like the reality.
The fact is, when you’re out of work you do have a job – which is getting a job.
I’ve found there are some things you can do during the job search period which can help fill in some of the gaps, real or perceived.
One of the best is adding new and relevant skills by doing short courses.
There are often short further education courses run by universities and polytechs (TAFE here in Australia) which give you an actual qualification, which looks pretty good on your CV.
If you don’t want to spend actual money, there are some really excellent courses available on the internet.
LinkedIn, which I use as my primary social media outreach tool for my job search has an absolutely brilliant set of online courses on all kinds of career enhancing skills, called LinkedIn Learning.
The total number of courses is reportedly up around 16,000, and it actually suggests some for you based on your LinkedIn profile and interests, which is why I am currently halfway through a course in using Adobe Spark video.
Yes, they are at their core video presentations with infographics and slides, but with most of the education sector closed to classroom activities, this sort of digital instruction is becoming pretty standard.
We might as well get used to it.
At the end of most of them, you can get a digital certificate of competition, which you can put on your LinkedIn profile.
Another source of excellent quality instructional courses is Hubspot Academy, which operate along similar lines to LinkedIn learning (and is also completely free).
I’m doing one of their courses on Search Engine Optimisation right now, and I can assure you the standard of instruction is very high.
There’s also a one-hour exam at the end, and you only get the digital certificate if you pass, so these are a cut above simply watching a YouTube instructional video.
These sorts of resources are a godsend to those of us on the job market who need to do three things.
1) Upskill ourselves to be competitive with other job seekers.
2) Maintain our knowledge of the latest developments in our field in a fast moving and ever-changing environment and
3) To be able to respond to queries from job interview panels about “gaps in your employment”.
Saying “I have been proactively upskilling myself in the areas of SEO, social media marketing, advanced Excel spreadsheet skills, presentation design and telling stories with data” is a much more effective comeback that “Um….