It is very common today to hear about folks making the decision to return to the workforce after retiring within the past few years. In almost all cases, it comes down to a lifestyle decision of some type. For example, some elect to return to work because they are absolutely bored out of their minds and want to stay active professionally after a brief time away. Many others have had their investment portfolio slammed by the market, losing considerable value, and necessitating a return to work so that they can maintain a certain standard of living. Still others may have protected their assets and sustained their retirement portfolio but have the cash locked into areas in which it is not very liquid, requiring them to return to work for spending cash.
Regardless of the particular scenario for you, your time in “retirement” has likely translated into what many would consider to be a “gap” in your employment history. I would like to offer some suggestions and words of caution about how to address employment gaps and other types of situations on your resume.
Consider Your Target
The first order of business is to identify the type of job you will pursue. Depending on your situation, you may be looking for a job that is exactly the same as your most recent position or one that is completely different. If the job is similar, you will want to play up your experience and accomplishments as well as your time in the industry. If you are going for an unrelated position, you will want to position your work history and your achievements so that they are translated into terminology that someone in your new line of work will value and understand.
Don’t Try to Hide Any Gaps
A common error made by folks in your situation is to attempt to cover up the fact that you have not been employed for a period of time, whether 1 year or 5 years. Now, if you retired in late 2008 and are putting together your resume early in 2009, I would not consider that a “gap.” As such, simply begin your work history with your most recent professional role. If you have more than a full calendar year gap, list “Family Sabbatical” or “Early Retirement” with the corresponding dates and location next to it. No other information is wanted or needed here. Keep in mind, the purpose of this entry is to overcome the method in which many HR reps view resumes-looking for unexplained gaps in employment.
Don’t Attempt to Explain
I do not advocate using space on the resume or the cover letter to explain away why you left the workforce or why you want to get back in. At this stage of the game, hiring managers, recruiters, and HR reps are not interested in this information. The really only want to know whether you have the skills, experience, and track record of someone that can be effective in this position. You can discuss this information in an interview setting, although much will not even be appropriate to talk about in that setting either.
These tips should help you be able to structure your resume in a way that addresses your time as a retiree without being left out in the cold as you launch your job search.
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