Careers and Coffee #3: What to do when you have a gap in employment

Careers and Coffee

What do you do when you have a gap in employment? How do you network and have a plan to respond to employer questions? Re-entering the workforce can be tricky without the right tools.
In this episode, Dan & Liz chat about a gap in employment and opportunities to bridge that gap.



Full Transcript

Dan Holterhaus 0:01
Good morning, everyone. Welcome back. This is part three careers and coffee. Liz and Dan.

Liz are you drinking tea this morning? you said,

Liz Kennedy, Room Host 0:13
Yeah, I was drinking green tea and caribou caught my student handy Caribou Coffee from Hyvee.

Dan Holterhaus 0:20
that seems to be your go to.

Liz Kennedy, Room Host 0:22
No, I’m pretty cheap.

Dan Holterhaus 0:27
I got my Hawkeye Yeti mug going. Nice. Yep. So I think this is my third cup. So that’s going to be about it for me today I am cut off.

Liz Kennedy, Room Host 0:42
busy week. Right? Um,

Dan Holterhaus 0:45
so a lot of great things happening on on corridor careers right now. Liz, you want to talk about like, what we have a lot of jobs on our board right now. It’s really exciting time right now we’ve got over 470 jobs on the site. That’s a lot for us. And just keep in mind, everybody that posts a quarter careers is a local employer. So it’s not going to be riddled with garbage and, you know, fake apply things. That’s one of our advantages of using our jobs platform. So, go go over to checkout quarter careers, see what kind of jobs that we have. Unity point is a big one that has a lot of job postings and healthcare, a quite a variety to not just RNs and lpns, but like technician jobs, sterilization, central sterilization, jobs, things like that. Great, great opportunities to get into healthcare. If you maybe have been working in maintenance and you want to work in healthcare, you can transition right over to that. So there’s a lot of cool opportunities right now. So if you aren’t finding anything, let’s let’s have you come over to our site, and we’ll get you somewhere.

Yeah, it’s definitely an exciting time. In the corridor, obviously, the weather’s getting nicer outside. I can tell I’m in a better mood, bike riding and playing golf. So

Liz Kennedy, Room Host 2:06
yeah, it’s just like when you look outside, and you can see green, that’s that’s a good sign.

So hopefully your mindsets are shifting a little bit too and and starting to think about Okay, what’s next for me? And we’d be happy to help you on that process.

Dan Holterhaus 2:22
Yeah, absolutely. So, today, we do want to dive into a question that we hear quite often actually from job seekers, and we definitely did during career week, a couple weeks ago. And that that’s dealing with somebody who is re entering the workforce, who has maybe been out of work for a little bit, is struggling to get back in. Or maybe they’ve been a stay at home parent for several years, and they want to get back into a job.

So my question for you is, what? What type?

What type of advice would you give to somebody that’s, that’s maybe struggling to get back into the workforce? Yeah, so this kind of sounds like a broken record, if you’ve listened before, but you’re not alone.

Liz Kennedy, Room Host 3:13
That’s number one.

There are a lot of people who are out of work in our community that are not seeking work, which means they’ve been out of work for some time. So that shows there’s a there’s a large population of people who are going to have a gap going back. So you’re not alone in that. And it’s not like you haven’t been doing anything, when you haven’t been working.

If you’ve been maybe taking care of family, maybe it’s young children or age parents or things like that, those activities are often translated into paid work. If you would have someone take care of your kids, that’s, that’s a job. If you’d have somebody take care of your aging parents, that’s a job. So think of it in the mindset of like, the work that I’ve been doing has been unpaid, but it’s still work.

Um, what a lot of people who are facing a gap, will will have that level of confidence that they need to build up, and that’s tough. But the first step is just to take it in small bites. So number one would be okay, let’s look at what is your resume, if you don’t have a resume,

there are a lot of resources out there, either through I will works. You could create an account with quarter careers. We have a resume builder, you could go to and use their resume builder. Library has a resume lab. And we’ll include clewd all these links in the show notes below. But the right library has a resume lab that is self serve online. So there’s a lot of online resources

that can help you kind of shape up your resume. And you are going to show some level of gap there in your resume of like, Okay, the last job I worked was seven years ago. Let’s just say

You just need to put some kind of message at the top of your resume that says, actively seeking work after

being an active stay at home parent or blah, blah, blah, or whatever it is that you want to say, you don’t have to you don’t have to share specifics, but you could you just have to make a statement that says you are actively looking for work, even though you have been out of work. And for whatever reason, and then when you go to apply for a job,

the recommendation we were getting from our experts on our expert panel back when we did career week was just make sure that you provide kind of an explanation, and come prepared in that

cover letter. Or maybe if you’re talking with an employer, you’re getting an interview secured or something like that, and they asked you about your your gap and employment. Just be prepared with a comeback to that that says, Yes, I haven’t been working. But what I’ve actually been doing is, you know, I had little side jobs, and I took care of my family and was responsible for all the home organization, you know,

or I did, I did the bills for the family for for 10 years and didn’t have any issues. You know, I mean, those, those are real skills that are transferable, they just aren’t paid.

Dan Holterhaus 6:18
Yeah, that’s, that’s really good. So when you think about some of those, those skills that you’re, you’re talking about right now, like whether you were taking, obviously taking care of a loved one, or maybe,

you know, making dinner for your family, you know, all these different just like household skills, right? Like, what, what jobs? Do you think those types of skills might transfer to very easily?

Liz Kennedy, Room Host 6:46
Well, I think we just kind of brainstorm what what do you, you have to do something that you like to do to so if if you enjoy taking care of people, you know, personal care, that is directly translatable category of jobs, so that could be

a medical assistant at a living, Assisted Living Center, or, you know, you could be working in a childcare facility,


potentially some other kind of facility like that. But if that isn’t, that is not an area that you’re interested in. cleaning companies are hiring right now, lots of cleaning companies. So that could be an opportunity to, and then if you’re like, well, I don’t want an entry level position, I need something that’s a little bit more substantial, then what you’re going to really have to rely on is your work history.

And what you’ve done to maintain those skills through your gap, and then build on your network. So that was another thing that our Ask the Expert Panel brought up was like, who do you know, working in the industry that you’re interested in? and pitch it to them say, Hey, hey, I’m looking to get back into this. I know, I’ve been out of work for some time, but I’ve got these skills, what would you recommend I do reach out. And LinkedIn is a great resource for that. But also just look through your contact list on your phone and give people a call. Now’s the time to start reaching out to people and make those connections so that you can have an advocate for you, helping you through this process. Because you don’t have to do this alone. People want to help each other.

You know, especially through the pandemic.

Dan Holterhaus 8:28
Absolutely. You brought up something, a few minutes back, and you said, you know, the people that might be have been out of work, or have been searching for a job for a while might be struggling with confidence. And

I want to share something from my own story. Because several years ago, I actually I quit a job without really knowing what I was going to do next. I just knew I wanted to kind of transition. And

I realized I was I was out of work for maybe a month or two. And I realized like, Okay, I need I can’t just apply to jobs, right? So I started driving Uber, I downloaded the Uber app, and I needed something to do each day to get some confidence, right? So I felt like okay, may I have a way to at least see some money coming in, then that allowed me to get, you know, another job, an hourly job, and then I was able to move into a full time role after you know, I worked that job for a while and just to just to build some confidence. So I think that really helped me on my journey to you know, now get to where I am now, as I was kind of going through that transition period, but I feel like there’s you’ve mentioned things like cleaning, you know, maybe taking care of a loved ones or babysitting.

Unknown Speaker 9:53
Uber Uber Eats dogs sitting sitting Yeah, dogs Right. Yeah.

Dan Holterhaus 10:01
instacart you know, delivering delivering goods to people, whether it’s groceries or you know, maybe things from the Walmart or Target. So I, with this kind of like gig economy, you know, where you can download an app and, you know, basically go to have a, have a pain job within, you know, a few days, I think there’s a

Liz Kennedy, Room Host 10:24
good way to build some confidence if you are struggling. Yeah. And we should, we shouldn’t forget to mention this, but we do own a quarter career as a part of the newspaper like is that we have routes available if you want to get up early and deliver the newspaper in the morning. So that’s always an option too. And that’s kind of a cool job, too, for contractors, because you can get it out of the, it’s out of the way, by the time your day starts. And if you’ve got kids at home, you still can take care of them, because you’re pretty much done by seven 730. So that’s an option to um, but I don’t know, traditional jobs, too. There are so many right now that it’s really kind of a buyers market. As far as a job seeker. If you’re thinking of yourself as a job seeker, you’re kind of a buyer of jobs, potentially, if you’re shopping for jobs.

It really just goes down to what we talked about before, which was what are you interested in? What is your short term goal and your long term goal and see if we can find something to align those things? Because there are great opportunities out there right now.

Yeah, absolutely will have like eBay stores and, you know, Facebook marketplace. You know, they do a lot of business on Facebook marketplace, too. And that’s another option.

Dan Holterhaus 11:45
That’s amazing. Just getting a little bit of income seen seen something come in how much confidence I can give you to you know, just keep moving forward? Mm hmm.

Liz Kennedy, Room Host 11:56
Yeah, I agree.

Dan Holterhaus 11:58
Cool. Well, that is going to do it for episode number three of careers and coffee. And sorry, I think the garbage truck is going by outside my window. If you if you heard that in the background, garbage trucks. Those are another position people are looking for.

Yeah. Ideas all around. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 12:20
Yeah. So if you guys are thinking about hey Liz, Dan, I am thinking about getting back to work, help me out, shoot us a message, hit us up on Facebook or shoot a message to contact a And we’ll respond. We’re real people. We’re not robots. So we can take a look at your resume and maybe give you some suggestions. But there are a ton of resources out there. So check out the show notes below. We’ll link to the Kirkwood Career Center, the displaced Worker Program. Those are great resources for you where they can offer really skilled expertise to help you through the process of reentering workforce and a bunch of other things we talked about so cornucopia of resources.

Dan Holterhaus 13:02
Awesome. Well, thanks a lot, Liz. It’s been a blast, and we’ll see everybody next week.