6 Ways to Fill Up a Major Resume Gap

When you’re unemployed, try these strategies to stay marketable.

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So you got laid off, just graduated from college, or decided to quit your job. You are unemployed and having a tough time finding a new job. As your job hunt goes on, the unemployment gap on your resume is getting bigger and bigger. What can you do to eliminate that gap? Here are six ways to fill up gaps in your resume when you are unemployed.

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Volunteer

Spend time each week volunteering for a non-profit organization. Create weekly newsletters for the organization, coordinate fundraising events, or help write grants. This will help you gain invaluable experience that will look great to future employers and will help you meet new people and expand your network.

Be an Intern

If you can't find a full time paid position, consider working as an intern. Internships tend to be part time and unpaid, however they are highly beneficial. At minimum, you will gain experience to fill up your resume, but chances are you will also learn new skills, grow your professional network, and potentially get offered a job at the company you intern for if you prove to be an asset.

Start Your Own Company

Sometimes it's better to work for yourself instead of working for someone else. This may be especially true if you are having trouble finding a job. So instead of letting that gap in your resume get bigger, think about starting your own company! Yes, getting a company off the ground is difficult and coming up with a great idea for a company is tough, but the experience you gain whether or not your company succeeds is extremely valuable to any potential employer and the fact that you had the drive to start your own company will be looked upon favorably. Better yet, if your company succeeds, you won't have to worry about finding a new job.

Travel

If you are unemployed and have some money saved up, consider traveling. Employers like employees who have some life experience under their belt and can bring knowledge of a different country/culture to the table, so what better way to get that experience than traveling to another country? This is also a great way to improve your foreign language skills, which also makes you more marketable to potential employers. (See also: 40 Travel Websites That Can Save You a Fortune.)

Go Back to School

Fill in that gap on your resume by going back to school. At the very least, take some courses related to your industry or the position you are applying for or go for the gold and get another degree. Going back to school increases your professional skill set, making you a more appealing candidate for that job you really want.

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Contract Work

What if you don't have the money to go back to school and your main goal is to pay off your credit card bills. Consider doing contract work. Use your expertise to be a consultant or assistant for individuals or companies who need people to help them out temporarily with a project. This way you will still be making money, creating valuable contacts, gaining work experience, and prevent your resume from having a huge unemployment gap on it.

Ashley Jacobs is a columnist for personal finance blog Wise Bread. Follow her latest tweets on @CollegeCents .