Bridging The Gap

Bridging The Gap

Q: I am in my 40s and was laid off from a finance/banking position. Out of work for 15 months, I have become very frustrated with job searching. I am constantly told that I am overqualified for certain positions.

I have networked, self-assessed, and done everything else I know, to no avail. I am afraid that the huge gap on my résumé will hurt me. With everyone wanting résumés mailed via e-mail, there is little opportunity to talk to a live person. I am currently taking a class but working is still my first priority. Can you offer me any advice? —Via the Internet

A: Job seekers often say they’re “doing everything” to no avail, but they are usually just following the same plan of action that got them their first job. Times are different. Job seekers have to be more creative, more inventive, and more aggressive. You also have to stop negatively focusing on the things you can’t control and concentrating on what you can. For example: You can’t fill the gap in your résumé, but you can get involved in career-enhancing activities, programs, and organizations that will show an employer you’ve taken this time to sharpen your skills. You can’t help being overqualified for a position, but you can tailor your résumé and cover letter so that it more accurately speaks to the position for which you’re applying. If sending résumés seems too impersonal, do more detailed research and start cold calling. If you have to take a pay cut, take it—just continue job hunting. It’s easier to find work when you’re employed than when you’re not.

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