How can lawyers deal with a career gap in their Resume?

If you have been looking for a job in the Indian market, you must be aware that a long career gap does not bode well with recruiters.

Unfortunately, most lawyers do not know that they shouldn’t wait till they are unemployed to update their applications, make a LinkedIn profile or connect with recruiters.

If the gap is too long, it will look like you were unable to secure a job at that time – which is a negative point for your candidature.

This will ultimately lead you to accept a lowball offer. My best suggestion here is to keep in touch with recruiters, always.

But if you have a gap, here’s how you can deal with it

You may explain a career break in three places: your resume, cover letter, as well as during your interview.

To explain a gap in your resume, be transparent, explain, show that you never stopped learning, or utilize an alternative resume structure to eliminate the gap. My mentee Shraddha was able to secure a job with an MNC despite a gap of 1 year, leveraging her extensive internship experiences and theoretical knowledge gained during judiciary preparation, through a combination of our 1:1 CV Drafting and Career Mentorship services exclusively customised for her.

Secondly, you can explain a gap in your cover letter by emphasising why you are a better candidate than others. This can include highlighting your legal drafting and research skills, as well as providing a credible justification for why you took this career gap. Make sure to customise this for as many companies and firms as you can!

Thirdly, if you have secured an interview, congratulations! I emphasise being 100% honest and transparent during the interview. Be prepared and confident, and in any case, do not disrespect your old company. Family reasons, sickness and accidents, seeking time to further your studies and even a failing business are all reasonable causes for a job break. Consider taking an Interview Preparation consultation to maximise your efforts.

Irrespective of the reason you are unemployed, you should make the most of your time. Freelancing, volunteering, joining upskilling courses, obtaining important credentials, and publishing papers in practice areas of your interest, are some of the ways to improve your resume. There are also several completely free and low-cost training options accessible both in person and online.

A gap is not a deal breaker. As a legal recruiter, I can assure you that lawyers with career gaps do get hired, with some extra effort. However, allowing it to interfere with your thinking and self-confidence may hinder you from obtaining the job. Keep a positive mindset and constructively explain your sabbatical. Before the interview, practise stating the cause of the gap. The more at ease you are, the more convinced the prospective employer will be that you are the best candidate for the position.

If you need any help, please feel free to reach out to us. Neeti Shastra wishes you all the best!

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