You traveled. You raised a family. You took care of a sick family member. You decided to switch career gears and are still navigating uncharted territory. Whatever it may be, there's a gap on your resume that you just can't figure out how to address on your resume and it's driving you crazy.
There are a variety of ways you can address the "elephant" on the page.
3 ways for a higher return on the job hunt
Method #1: Stay active with your craft
For whatever reason you are taking time off, stay active in your industry or community. Identify small projects that will keep your mind moving and your skills sharp. Offer your own services on Fiverr where freelancers gain clientele for their craft...and earn a couple of bucks.
Method #2: Volunteer
Devote your time to something for the greater good of humanity. Perhaps it's a bit cliché, but you are taking the opportunity to give back and meet new people. Taking an active step to put yourself in a new social circles under a shared desire to volunteer is a very natural way to network. Who knows who you will meet that will add value and happiness to your life -- and maybe a connection that will bring you one step closer to landing a job that makes you happy. Volunteering also helps you exercise some of your already-honed skills.
Employee referrals "boost the odds of a successful job match" by 2.2 to 2.6 percent.
Method #3: Network, network, network
Glassdoor reports that employee referrals "boost the odds of a successful job match" by 2.2 to 2.6 percent. The more people you meet, the closer you are to your next job opportunity. Grab coffee with people in your industry, family friends, or friends of friends. Don't forget to utilize Linkedin to dip into the 400 million professionals on the site. The key to networking is to establish genuine connections with the people you meet. Many people make the mistake of going into a networking event with a checklist of what they want to get out of it. Instead, go in hoping to meet certain types of people (or no expectations at all) and get to know that person for who they are and what they enjoy. The conversation will likely lead the way you hope it will go if you connect authentically. People want to help people who they click with -- that's what will get you closer to a new career position.
Method #4: Enroll in a specialty course
Learning new things always gives you a competitive edge. Enroll in a community college course for a semester to learn a new skill. Or check out Linkedin Learning from the comfort of your plush couch to earn a few notches in your tool belt from world class experts. Some of these courses also come with certificates that you can add to your resume to prove credibility.
Regardless of whether you're taking a short-term, long-term, or indefinite hiatus, there are always actions you can take to keep your edge.
Sarah Sax is the founder of Write For The Job.