Hosted By

Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Chief Executive Officer Cheeky Scientist

Join Isaiah as he explains why you shouldn’t worry as much about your resume gap and gives you strategies to focus on your value instead

Here’s a quick rundown of this week’s episode…

  • First, Isaiah discloses why a resume gap doesn’t automatically eliminates good candidates from the job pool
  • Next, Isaiah presents the functional resume, a great tool to draw attention to your value instead of your resume gap
  • Finally, Isaiah discusses why you should always be transparent about your resume gaps, as well as the strategy you should follow to avoid framing them in a negative way

From This Week’s Show… 

Why Your Resume Gaps Doesn’t Matter As Much As You Think

Many PhDs think that having a gap in their work experience immediately eliminates them from the job pool.

This may have been true once, but the “job hopping” mentality of today’s workforce paired with the great resignation of this post-pandemic era has employers more concerned about employee retention than a gap in your work experience, especially if you have a PhD.

Maybe you defended your thesis during the pandemic and had difficulties finding a job afterwards… or perhaps you decided to take time off to focus on your family. No matter the situation, employers now realize that gaps in your work history aren’t immediate red flags.

Instead, employers are looking for job candidates who can offer them loyalty and dependability. And this is something that PhDs excel at – what says loyalty and dedication more than spending a decade being overworked and underpaid in academia just to pursue an answer to a hypothesis only five other people understand?

That being said, you should not draw attention to a gap on your resume needlessly.

A Functional Resume Will Help You Draw Attention The Value You Have To Offer

The functional resume has been around for decades and is a great way to showcase the value you can bring to a company without focusing on dates. Believe it or not, employers prefer that you list your work experience in order of relevance rather than merely in chronological order.

So, instead of organizing your work experience by your academic job titles and the time you spent with those titles, replace your academic titles with headings that highlight your skills like “Project Management,” “Teaching and Mentoring,” or “Research and Analysis.”

Then, underneath each subheading, include the job titles you had while you developed those skills.

For example, you’d write “Gained as a postdoctoral researcher at XYZ university” underneath the skill you listed as a subheading.

After that you’d add a list of three to five bullets for each title describing your experience and accomplishments.

By highlighting your relevant skills and experiences in this way, employers will not notice any meaningless gap you have on your resume.

Be Transparent About Your Resume Gap

Always be transparent and forward thinking when describing a gap on your resume.

If you decided to stay home to raise your kids, be honest and upfront about it… just make sure to follow up with your transparent assessment for how ready you are now to take on the challenge of the role in front of you.  

During interviews and networking conversations, don’t bring up a gap you have on your own. If you’re pressed about a gap, don’t freak out. Don’t add negative energy to it. Stay relaxed and answer transparently, and again, always end your answer by expressing your desire to return to the workforce.

Be sure to mention how you stayed busy during any gaps you have in your work history too.

For example, if you volunteered at a local animal shelter or completed a number of online certifications during this time, make sure to mention this. Anything that shows that you’re interested in growing as an individual will make you stand out.

Lastly, when searching for a job, search for openings at companies known for their supportive culture. A good employer will understand that life doesn’t always go as planned and gaps sometimes happen.

If you’re ready to start your transition into industry, you can apply to book a free Transition Call with our founder Isaiah Hankel, PhD or one of our Transition Specialists. Apply to book a Transition Call here.

Book a Transition Call
Get Free Job Search Content Weekly