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burnout career gaps

Why are burnout career gaps seen as a negative?

Conventionally, there are lots of reasons why potential employers might negatively perceive employment gaps in a resume. You got caught doing something wrong and got fired. Or maybe you were unable to land a job due to being unqualified or bad at interviewing. And some people might be perceived as not being a “go-getter” and just plain lazy!

Do you think that’s changed during these times?

Yes, absolutely. The obvious reason this has changed is due to Covid. Across the nation, people have been quitting their jobs at unprecedented rates and have either been pursuing new careers or taking time off to home school their kids or just take a break! According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), four million people quit their jobs in April 2021 alone! For many people, a gap can be a restorative and exciting time to slow down, reposition, and figure out what type of work makes you feel most satisfied.

If you left due to burnout, is that something you should be upfront about?

Yes, but a preventative approach is key!  I don’t advise offering too much information. There is no need to go into detail unless it’s specifically requested. Instead, own the reason by saying something like “I decided to take personal leave due to conditions related to the pandemic.”

Would love to get some do’s and don’ts on burnout career gaps?

  • Be prepared to control the narrative – employment gaps on a resume will only be a cause for concern if you don’t explain the reason for your gap in employment and more importantly, the experience and growth you gained during your time off.
  • Talk openly about any hardships you might have experienced due to the pandemic – The pandemic has created more empathy for everyone hence employers hopefully view people who have been unemployed for months or years in a different and more understandable light.
  • Use a resume format or style that makes the gap appear less obvious
  • List the reason for longer employment gaps as its own job (i.e., self-employment, consultant, freelancer)

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