People take time off from their jobs for different reasons: travelling, caring for sick relatives, giving birth and raising children, and going back to school. In other cases, you might take time from work because you were laid off or fired and finding a new job took time. A house sitting employment gap is a very contemporary challenge though as important to consider as the more familiar experiences we see around us. Here are some ideas on how best to explain a house sitting employment gap just like any other employment gap on your resume – the key points to consider are that it depends on your particular situation. Whether you were enjoying a working holiday in the Caribbean caring for someone’s pets and property or busy doing something else that created a career break take on board these top tips on how to explain your reason.
Do you need to mention the employment gap?
If your house sitting employment gap, or any other employment gap year for that matter, was in the past and you have since gotten a job, you might not have to mention it on your resume. After all, you do not have to include all of your experience in the resume.
If you have been in the workforce for many years and you are looking to get a higher position, an entry-level job that you did years ago will not be very relevant. However, you should take care not to lie when writing your resume. If you lie, it might come back to haunt you. Honesty is always the best policy. Employers usually verify your work history, which means that your lie will be discovered.
Career breaks for personal reasons
If you needed to take a career break due to personal ill health, raising children, or to care for a loved one, these reasons are eminently understandable and most employers will empathise and there should be little issue about the details. They will speak for themselves.
If you needed a career break to study with the idea of changing the course of your career or the direction of your work, again this is a path many people find themselves taking at a certain point in their working lives. You may want to prepare a clear explanation of your rationale in order to explain your motives.
The house sitting employment gap year wild card
And then there is the wild card career break that many housesitters and petsitters find themselves trying to explain. The reasons people start a nomadic life of long term housesitting and sometimes leading to an international nomadic lifestyle are many and varied. At HouseSitMatch we hear many stories about young professionals that perhaps experience their first redundancy and decide that it provides a good moment to take a gap year and travel.
Housesitting or more usually pet-sitting in most assignments makes this affordable. We also have sitters who increasingly describe themselves taking a grey gap year. As empty nesters with no responsibilities tying them down at home they decide the moment has come to travel the world while they are still fit and able. Some people do this for a few months as a temporary break in their career. Others plan a whole year to travel before a final push to retirement.
Explain in Your Cover Letter
When you have an employment gap that does not fit your resume, you should consider using your cover letter to explain it. However, you do not have to bring this gap to the attention of your employer. If he asks about it, you can explain during the interview.
Explain During the Interview
Explaining your employment gap during the interview might be tricky but the best thing that you can do is address it forthrightly. Make sure that you mention whether the time off was voluntary or involuntary. If you took time off from your job to care for a sick loved one, you should make it clear that you are ready to work full time again.
If you were laid off because the company was downsizing, you should provide evidence of your strong performance then give details about the downsizing. If possible, you need to get recommendations from former colleagues and supervisors to confirm your competence. You should consider incorporating these recommendations into your LinkedIn account.
Of course, it will be difficult to explain your gap if you were fired because of performance issues. If you are looking for a job that requires a different skill set, you need to emphasize your strengths. Have you taken actions to rectify the issues that led to your dismissal? You need to mention the steps that you have taken to strengthen your abilities.
Whatever you do, avoid badmouthing your previous employer because potential employers are likely to take his side over yours. The better approach would be to provide proof of your abilities as well as any positive recommendations from your previous jobs.
Highlight the Positive
Make sure that you highlight the positive activities that you did during your gap: freelance work, volunteer work, and workshops. Above all, you need to show some enthusiasm about returning to work and state why your target job would be an excellent fit.
How to Disguise Your Employment Gap
If your employment gap was recent, you can make it less obvious by:
- Covering it with dates – stating specific dates will make an employment gap obvious. You should consider stating years instead.
- Omit job(s) from your resume – if you have been working for years, you can omit a few jobs.
- Include experience gained – include the things that you did during your gap period: freelancing and volunteering
If you have been unemployed for quite a while consider the job you want:
- If you are looking for a hospitalist job or something related to the medical professions for instance, you should consider using the above strategies to explain the gap on your resume or make it less obvious.
- If you’re looking for commercial roles try reaching out to your network, and consider a way to maintain your contacts and skills while you are gapping.
- Any other specialist profession will have particular standards, skills and CPD requirements that must be adhered to. Consider your next steps, make a plan and then enjoy your gap!
To start your break from employment you might want to consider a house sitting employment gap and and launch your very own housesitting adventure. Join HouseSitMatch to find your house and petsitting solution. Start by registering with HouseSitMatch. And if you have a home and pets to care for register as a homeowner to find a sitter to take care of your property and pets while you travel: