How To Deal With Gaps In Your Resume

Survival Jobs

It’s been almost one year since the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games were held in Vancouver. I had a fantastic time and made a lot of friends. Unfortunately, some of my VANOC friends have found it difficult to find work since this event and are concerned about the gap in their resume.

A gap in a resume is a common concern for people who are unemployed. Volunteering is a great way to keep busy, learn new skills and meet new people but unfortunately it won’t pay the bills. This is where a “survival job” can step in and possibly save the day.

What Is A Survival Job?

A survival job is usually a lower paid and low end job needed for financial reasons. This type of job is becoming more common as more people are finding themselves unemployed for longer periods. After someone runs out of their savings they need something to help pay the bills.

As a recruiter I first learned of survival jobs during an interview. During an interview I asked a candidate about a job they held, which looked a little odd given his skills and experience. The candidate laughed and started to explain that it was a survival job. Even though It was a lower end job the candidate had a great time meeting people and more importantly it paid the rent. Not only did It make perfect sense to me and the manager but the candidate was not embarrassed by it and that made a difference.

Fill The Gap And Boost Your Confidence

A survival job can really help you build up your confidence. The main purpose is to help pay your bills but it gets you out of the house and gives you a sense of purpose.

Here’s an article about survival jobs from US News & World Report: “Can’t Find Work? Get a ‘Survival Job’“. The article is great and gives examples of what some survival jobs look like.

Survival Jobs Are Not Perfect

Survival jobs are great but they are a lower paying job. Things might still be a little tight and all this time working at a lower end job might take you away from your real job search.

Some of my clients have held survival jobs at stores that they loved. Clothing stores in-particular are good because as an employee you usually get a discount and this can help spoof up your work wardrobe.

Both volunteering and survival jobs can help your confidence but may not open the door to a higher paying job. It’s not impossible but you will have to work hard and use your networking skills.

Survival jobs are not for everyone. They are great to fill the gap in your resume but depending on your career goals, it may hurt your resume rather then help it. If you feel a survival job will do more harm then good then leave it out.
After a long period of unemployment a survival job may be a great short term answer.

Photo by: ebruli

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