Locum tenens is a great way to avoid gaps in your resume when you’re in between jobs. But what happens if you already have gaps in your resume? How can you make sure your CV still stands out to healthcare recruiters?
The average recruiter looks at each candidate’s CV for 10 seconds or less, which doesn’t give you a whole lot of time to make an impression. Unexplained gaps in your work history is one major reason why a recruiter might flip past yours, so it’s important to catch and account for them.
Here are some tips for how to do that effectively:
1. Scan your resume for gaps.
Short gaps in employment aren’t a big deal; it’s the long ones you need to look out for. A month-long gap here and there won’t raise any eyebrows––especially if you have a history of locum tenens work––but gaps of several months or longer may give recruiters pause. Your resume should include the month and year of each of your assignments, so be sure to scan it before you submit to catch any longer gaps that might need explanation.
2. Account for any major gaps.
Include a line of explanation for any significant gaps in your work history. You can format these the same way you would for a job: in place of summarizing your role, just write a brief description of what you did during that time. For example, if you took several years to enter medical school after joining college, you can include an explanation like this: “Worked in the service industry to save money for medical school.”
3. Be concise.
No need to go into exhaustive detail: the briefer, the better. If you needed to take time off after adding to your family, for example “taking time for parental leave” will suffice as an explanation. You don’t have to go into specifics to explain what this care entailed.
4. Include non-healthcare related work.
Most of your CV should, of course, be focused on your healthcare experience. That said, you can include non-healthcare related work if it helps explain any major gaps in your employment. Just keep it brief: a line summarizing each role is fine, no need to list out your responsibilities. If you transitioned into healthcare from a different field, you may need to include more detail, in which case, you should try to highlight aspects of your previous roles that compliment your current career in healthcare.
5. Highlight any relevant experience you gained during your gap.
If you underwent any professional development over your gaps in employment—for example, a certification course—definitely include these in your explanation to highlight your conscientiousness to potential recruiters. You can also include experience that is less formal, if it’s relevant to your healthcare career. For example, if you took time off to care for a sick family member, you might include an explanation like this: “Served as a full-time caregiver, including medication administration and regularly checking vital signs.”
Remember, there’s no need to apologize for having gaps in your work history: life happens to all of us. Using the tips above, you can make sure your CV still stands out, gaps and all, for any locums position you’re going after.