There is typically an added level of uncertainty for those with gaps in their resumés. Although millions of people have taken a break from their careers for valid reasons, the workforce still struggles to move past the stigma of resumé gaps. The amount of judgment the workforce can sometimes place on those who take breaks in their careers is incredibly unsettling, especially when considering how the world was turned upside down over the past fourteen months.
Life happens, especially during a pandemic. What can we do to make our workplaces more accommodating of unconventional career trajectories, and especially resumé gaps? Here are some tips on how to use LinkedIn to effectively normalize resumé gaps, as well as some in-house programming your employer can leverage in welcoming return-to-work professionals.
How LinkedIn is Leading the Way to Normalize Resumé Gaps
LinkedIn did not always make the best decisions around incorporating return-to-work jobseekers into their platform and community. The website received substantial criticism for some of its profile formatting, and rightfully so. For example, the site previously mandated that every job title listed on one’s profile precede an employer. Given the rising unemployment rates tied to the COVID-19 pandemic, features like those above prove to be wildly insensitive.
LinkedIn recently announced that it would implement dropdown menus for users to identify as stay-at-home parents. These designations will also include indications for jobseekers who have spent time away from work. Not only is the move long overdue, but it marks a significant shift in how the workforce discusses the decision to return to work. By giving users the option to identify as stay-at-home parents, LinkedIn demonstrates that it is valid, and sometimes necessary, for someone to take a break from their career. In return, LinkedIn empowers jobseekers to be transparent with their life experiences.
First, LinkedIn. Now What?
It is not LinkedIn’s responsibility alone to normalize career and resumé gaps. Fortunately, some employers are beginning to offer return-to-work programs that reintegrate professionals back into the workforce. These programs are sometimes called “returnships,” seeing returning professionals receive paid, internship-like roles that offer the bonuses of mentorship, networking, and programming. Like a temp-to-hire format, some returnships also offer a direct-hire component, where participants receive a formal job offer at the end of the initial program.
Although returnships are a novel concept to some employers, they are hardly foreign to the workforce. Returnships first began on Wall Street at the beginning of the millennium. Their initial purpose served to correct the gender imbalance in the finance industry as women advanced to senior positions. Today, over a third of the Fortune 50 offers in-house returnships, and over four fifths of the participants end up staying with their respective companies full-time.
Bringing Returnships to Your Workplace
The Fortune 50 lifestyle is not for everyone, nor does it have to be. Anyone with a leadership position should feel empowered and encouraged to suggest a return-to-work program to their employer. All it takes to administer and recruit for a successful returnship is transparency, open-mindedness, and a sincere attitude about what it is like to work for your employer.
Whether your office currently administers a return-to-work program, or you want to develop one, be mindful of how you are introducing the program to potential candidates. If a third-party online platform posts vacancies on your office’s behalf, be sure that they identify returnships as such. Some returnships get advertised as internships, which can discourage mid-career professionals from applying after returning from their own career break(s).
About Bo Parfet
Bo Parfet is the Founder & CEO of Denali Venture Philanthropy, where he partners with socially conscious entrepreneurs who share his passion for fostering positive change in the global community. A former investment banker for J.P. Morgan Chase, Parfet decided to embark on his journey of climbing the Seven Summits during his time on Wall Street. He is currently one of 127 to complete the Seven Summits and has since joined the Explorers Club. A graduate of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, Parfet continues to pay it forward by partnering the Kellogg School with the Explorers Club to enable seasoned explorers to lecture about their invaluable leadership lessons.