Tuesday, February 14, 2012

When You Have an Employment Gap Due to Illness

A woman emailed me asking for advice. She's been ill for over a year, including two major surgeries. Now she wants to go back to work and doesn't know how to explain the employment gap.

I sent her my advice and she wrote back to say she loved it, so I figured I'd share it with you:

If I were in your shoes, I'd disclose it right upfront in my cover letter. The wrong employers (the large majority) will reject you immediately. The rare right ones will consider you. That's the sort of employer you want to work for anyway.

And I'd focus on making that pitch both to your network and in cold-calling employers who are NOT advertising a job for which you're qualified. The goal would be to get to them early in a job's lifespan: for example, when an employer has a need for someone but isn't yet aware of it or has thought about hiring but haven't started the process yet---that way, you might not have to compete with so many applicants.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Also, keep in mind that some kinds of employers are not only better for chances of finding jobs, but also places for working at: namely nonprofits, places that work with animals from shelters to stores, schools from nursery schools to universities, small retail stores, and especially government agencies at all levels, are more likely to contain people who are more understanding.


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