Employers are notorious for having a bias against candidates with breaks in their career history, and I admit I’ve been guilty of that same sin. In fact, whenever I saw a long break on a resume, I jumped straight to one or more of the following assumptions about the candidate.
- Well, you obviously don’t need money since you can afford such a long break, so you won’t be a motivated employee.
- You must be an impulsive/irresponsible employee who will quit at the drop of a hat.
- There must be something wrong with you. If not you should have been able to find another job while still employed. Like everybody else.
- If you’ve been out of the workforce for so long, your knowledge and experience are likely to be obsolete already.
Then, I would wait to see what “excuses” the candidate made to explain away the breaks. My list of acceptable reasons included retrenchment, end of contract, illness, taking care of family, and relocation. Yep, that was it. Any other reason was, well, “unreasonable”. But after I took a few breaks myself, I now know the error of my ways and want employers to keep an open mind.
So employers, please consider the following.