Accounting for Times of Unemployment
If you have decided it is time to start applying for new accountant jobs, you may be worried about gaps on your resume. At the time of writing, the unemployment rate is at almost 8%, making competition for jobs fierce and job hunting difficult. (You might like to read our article ‘Why staff accountants looking for a new job shouldn’t worry about high unemployment’.)
If you were let go from your previous accounting job at some stage during the pandemic, or have an employment gap on your resume, you may be anxious about how this looks to potential employers.
We have some good news – gaps on your resume are probably not the deal breaker you believe them to be.
Employment gaps can happen for all sorts of reasons. In this article, we discuss how best to explain them to potential employers.
Formatting Your Accountant Resume
When listing your work history on your resume you don’t need to include the months for start and end dates. Instead, you have the option to only list the year.
An example of how you may format your resume to look could be:
- Accountant, Company Name, 2019-Present
- Accountant, Company Name, 2016-2019
By formatting your accountant resume in this way, you remove some of the attention from your periods of unemployment. However, this only works if your employment gap was in the same year as your periods of employment.
You should also be aware that some employers may realize that you are trying to hide employment gaps by formatting your resume in this way. Therefore, it is important that you are prepared to address your employment gaps in an interview – when you may be asked to provide more detail about your work history and the dates of your employment.
Preparing for Your Interview
What matters to potential employers more than an employment gap is that you have the skillset to take on an accountant role at their company. If you have an employment gap, it will probably be mentioned during the interview. Here are some tips for how to answer questions about your employment gaps during an interview.
· Prepare Your Explanation
Having a prepared answer for any questions about gaps in employment will help you feel at ease for the rest of the interview. You can give a clear and rational reason for why there is a gap between two of your previous accounting jobs.
There are many reasons people experience employment gaps. You may have one of the following reasons to give:
- Looking after a sick family member
- Unfortunate life circumstances
If one of the above is the reason you took a break during your career, you can simply say this to the employer. It is important to also mention that this issue is now resolved, and you are ready to commit to getting back to work and carve out a rewarding career.
· Be Honest
If your reason for unemployment was due to layoffs, company closures, or other reason, it is important to be honest about this. Integrity is a critical characteristic in accounting. It’s essential to demonstrate your honesty.
Don’t enter the interview with fictional answers. You will be found out and quickly cut from the shortlist of candidates. Remember, the employer’s focus will be on ensuring you have the skills, ability, and personality they seek.
· Focus on Your Skills
Show employers that, even if you have an employment gap, your skills are sharp, and you can assume the responsibilities of the role. Here are three ways you can demonstrate your skillset to an interviewer:
- Give examples of how you kept your skills updated. Perhaps you took online courses or attended classes?
- Show that you have kept up to date on industry news.
- Demonstrate how you have remained an active part of the accounting community on networks such as LinkedIn.
To Sum Up
Having a gap on your accountant resume is not the deal breaker you might assume it to be. Employers are seeking talented accountants who are dedicated to maintaining their skillset and are aware of the world around them.
Providing you can explain employment gaps honestly, and demonstrate that you have the skills to do the job and the personality to fit in, gaps in employment will be overlooked. We’ll help you to get over this hurdle when you apply for accountant jobs through 6 Degrees. To learn more and gain access to some of the best accountant jobs with the best employers today, submit your resume to 6Degrees.