Dear Sam: In 2017, I left corporate America to take care of my two young children. I worked part-time for a while until the next company went out of business in 2019. I then attended a certification course for about a year. I am worried about the employment gap in my resume and whether it is appropriate to address the fact that I stayed home with my children. – Sally
Dear Sally: There is no need to address the reason for your gap in employment on your resume or cover letter. When the hiring manager reads your resume, notices the gap, and sees that you are a woman, they will assume you took time off to stay home with a child. You do not need to address this at all and instead should focus on your previous experiences, achievements, and continued professional development. By concentrating on your work experience, versus the reason for your absence from the workforce, you focus the hiring manager’s attention on the areas that enhance or support your candidacy, leaving the gap in employment as a minimal factor in your evaluation.
Now, having said that, some candidates feel more secure noting the reason for a departure from the workforce. If you fall into this category, you would typically use your cover letter to communicate the reason for your absence. If you engaged in community involvement, volunteered in other ways, completed additional training, or continued to develop your professional self in any way during this “gap,” be sure you note it. Hiring managers can connect the dots and are, in my experience, refreshingly understanding of life taking us away from our profession. While it is something to be handled carefully on your resume and cover letter, I do not think you need to be consumed with worry about it being a disqualifying factor. Best of luck to you!
Dear Sam: I have started developing my LinkedIn profile and wanted to place the URL on my resume. I am not sure how or where to present it. Does it add value to my resume? – Adam
Dear Adam: It can be a fantastic idea to add your LinkedIn URL to your resume if there is a reason to send a hiring manager there. Think of LinkedIn as your virtual brand; it should be marketing your candidacy to your target audience through the content you develop and an appropriate selection of other LinkedIn elements that can reinforce your message. To add value through LinkedIn, make sure you have recommendations—when possible—for the positions you are presenting, follow companies and influencers that reinforce your brand, join groups reflective of your current career interests, be sure you are listing relevant skills for connections to endorse (pin the top three so LinkedIn prompts your connections for endorsements of your most relevant skills), and go through each of the LinkedIn sections to add anything that reinforces your professional candidacy. I say “professional candidacy” as LinkedIn is a professional networking tool. You should use this site to reflect you and your career, steering clear of personal posts and information that can be distracting. Once you have ensured there is a reason you think a hiring manager would benefit from going to your LinkedIn profile, then, by all means, list your customized LinkedIn profile URL in the heading section of your resume.