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Career Coach

Nurse Practitioner Employment History Gaps

Published July 13, 2009 9:11 AM by Lynn Schiff
We receive many resumes and talk with hundreds of amazing candidates each year. One recent question was how to address a gap in employment history. Successful candidates will want to address this question directly. Usually there are a couple of reasons we see employment gaps. By law, employers are prohibited by asking job applicants about their personal life. However, the most common reason for a lapse in employment is fairly personal.

We see many baby boomers caring for elderly parents and relative, or perhaps they themselves are dealing with an extended illness or injury. Many of our candidates are raising young families and want time off for maternity leaves and childrearing responsibilities. Some fortunate candidates are able to take extended time off between jobs to volunteer or take a much needed break to vacation and relax when their families are grown and raised.

We always recommend explaining the gap factually but briefly. Candidates should leave out details that may make them seem unsuitable for the position or that might raise red flags with an employer. Some applicants have learned new skills during the leave of absence that are applicable to this position, and it may be appropriate to share these with the employer.

Another common reason for a lapse in employment is that an unexpected termination occurred and it has taken some time to find suitable employment. Job seekers need to explain in simple terms what happened and what can be learned from the experience. Under no circumstances should applicants speak negatively about a previous employer or employment situation. Omitting a job from the resume because of a termination may backfire and may be considered lying about one's background.

Employers want to be 100% sure they are making a good choice and need to cover all their bases by asking difficult questions. By showing them there is nothing to hide, job applicants will have a better chance at landing their dream position.

Lynn Schiff, NP, is the owner of Advanced Practice Solutions, a recruiting firm specializing in permanent and temporary nurse practitioner placements. Reach her at http://www.advancedpracticesolutions.com/

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    Occupation: Nurse Practitioners and NP Recruiters
    Setting: correctional healthcare/career consulting/teaching
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