kimberly bishop author interviewSome gaps are good: The clothing store chain, that cute little space between your toddler’s front teeth. But a huge gap in your job history on a resume? Not cute at all.

Chances are, if you are a mom and you’re in school, there are spaces of months, years, even decades between jobs. So what do you do about it? Master Recruiter Kimberly Bishop says…Tell your potential employers about what you DID do, and don’t focus on what is missing.

“First of all, think about your experience. Maybe you haven’t been working, but what are the other things that you have given your skills to that should be mentioned on your resume? Did you lead any groups at school? Did you do any volunteer work? You should absolutely put those on there,” said Bishop, who is an expert on executive recruiting

Her new book, Get Down to Business and You’ll Get the Job, is a practical how-to guide with proven advice to anyone looking for a job, considering a career change or eager to re-enter the workforce. (Sound familiar?)

About Bishop: She has more than 20 years of business experience. She is founder and CEO of Kimberly Bishop, a career management and leadership services company based in New York. She also received several top awards and accolades, such as being one of the “World’s Most Influential Headhunters” by Business Week magazine.

Bishop has been on both sides of the search and hiring process. She knows how nerve-wracking it can be – dressing up, polishing a resume, sitting through a long interview with a relative stranger. In her book, Bishop shares insider secrets about how organizations function to help job-seekers make the smart decisions and keep their morale up throughout the process.

So if Bishop says you are fascinating and worth hiring – yes, she’s talking to you, you Stay at Home Moms and Part Timers and the like – you certainly should think of yourself that way.

“Some of those things (you did during your job gap) may have exposed you to things that may get you the next job,” Bishop said. “Some people will say, ‘I’ll wait until I get into the interview and tell them this whole story about what I’ve done.’ But that won’t work anymore.”

Indeed, there is some debate among recruiters about how much you should reveal up front. I know lots of SAHMs who are hesitant to tell anyone, let alone a recruiter, that they left work to take care of kids. They demean themselves and the role they played in their children’s lives. Don’t do it.

“For women who have been out of the workforce parenting, I say they should put that on their resume,” Bishop said. “Granted, it is a personal decision. Some recruiters will say don’t do it. Some say yes. I think it’s a personal decision on what someone wants to say and not say. I’ve seen both.”

Okay, so you’ve got your resume rocking. You’re armed to talk to the recruiter. Now, should you downplay how much you are worth during the salary negotiations? I think you know the answer to that one. It’s a big ol’ NO.

“Women struggle with how to talk about compensation, especially if they haven’t been working,” Bishop said. “The recruiter will ask what their compensation was on your last job, and that might have been a while ago. Here’s how you handle it: Be proactive. Tell them, ‘Based on my experiences and what this role is, this would be the range that I’m looking for.'”

Yes, you can be bold. Really, take the time to do the research online.

“It’s much better to say that then this: ‘I’m open; it’s negotiable.” People think that Mmakes them sound more flexible, or that it will give them an edge on getting the job,” Bishop said. “No, it doesn’t. Instead, it shows the person hasn’t done their homework on what the market is and what they think they are worth. Everyone has in their mind some threshold on what they’re willing to work for in that position. Check out web sites like Salary.com. There are lots of free tools out there for people getting grip on salaries.”

What’s a great one-liner to try? Bishop recommends: “Of course I’m negotiable, but this is the kind of range I want.”

“It gives the other person something to work with. It will come across much more business savvy,” Bishop said.

And even with a gap, you want to look savvy.

P.S. Check out Bishop’s web site and blog. There are tons of great tips and suggestions!

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