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  • Writer's pictureAntonio Da Veiga Rocha

Resume Blankspots: How to More Equitably View the ‘Empty Spaces’.

Updated: Oct 10, 2022


I recently had a conversation with a friend-colleague of mine about resume blankspots. An exchange where I found myself emotionally charged after he mentioned a conversation he had with a friend. That friend said she had no such spaces in her curriculum vitae, and that she had always worked against having them. My mini paroxysm felt so natural to me that it surprised me, and my reply, as you can imagine, was nothing short of a diatribe.


What is a Resume Blankspot?


Blankspots are periods of time that are unaccounted for in one’s curriculum vitae. If we’re reviewing someone’s professional engagement history, we are speaking here of gaps between those engagements, which could be jobs, trainings, volunteering, etc, essentially, gaps in our professional involvements over periods of time.


The Ways of the Past


The old mindset (as my friend’s colleague sees it) is that one should minimize as much as possible such gaps, for they are seen as uncertainties in one’s professional work history. They are often inquired about by interviewers with an air of reprimand and disappointment, one the interviewee needs to clarify and explain while feeling somewhat ashamed having to do so.


Firstly, such thinking ways, of accepting only resumes with flawless, unbroken, timelines, is a thing of the past. When we say ‘the past’ we mean a patriarchal, white, middle/upper class, homogeneous way of assessing professional commitment. It’s a subscription to uniformity and sameness that occupies itself with a privileged few and perpetually communicates that few’s intent to their privilege.


It is a process that is also incredibly unfair, especially to an ever growing and diverse modern population. If your company is approaching its interviewing lens through such old and singular ways, you may want to change your interviewing profile and stop perpetuating a system that is on its way out.


The Worker’s Changing Profile


Today’s working realities point to professionals being more mobile in their interest. They are more readily available to switch camps for professional growth and life balances. And these are the workers you should want as their productivity levels are way higher than those of your hat down, look straight-forward, 'just-here-to-do-my-job' workers.


Today’s diverse workers are more willing to take time off, take longer periods between jobs, and explore experiences that fill them with motivations and excitement. This may result in more blankspots in their resumes, but bypassing such talents can have a serious effect on your company’s bottom line. Seeing as every company is looking for the best workers, it's important to keep this in mind when casting your net.


Here are Two Key Considerations when Approaching Resumes with Blankspots.


1. There Could be Real Struggles Behind the ‘Spots’


As the workforce becomes more and more diverse, so should a company’s understanding of what diversity means as lived experiences. Whereas before one could rely on a landscape of male workers, most of who occupied very similar backgrounds, today you will find a wide and complex range of worker profiles.


Examples of this may be single parent homes, low-income multifamily homes, multifamily caregiving homes, low publicly resourced communities and homes, etc. Blankspots could be gaps that speak to the hidden truths of social inequities. Individuals needing to take time off to care for elders, deal with evictions, court visits, substance abuse, trainings and education needs, limited mobility, etc. Penalizing such realities is an inequitable act, one that would surely hurt your company’s diversity and inclusion goals and your ability to reflect your served community.


2. Work-Life Balance


We’ve always heard about the need for a work-life balance, but for some time it was still better to have a work mind that set aside such ‘balances’ as the goal was to do all for the company. Although in many companies this is still true, a growing realism now is the pressure on such models as membership to such work philosophies is declining.


Having more balanced workers means having a healthier working body, a body that can better and more clearly concentrate on the tasks at hand. These workers are also more positive facing, rather than negative facing. They view things through constructive lenses, generating questions that immediately seek solutions and involvement, minimizing dismissal and inattention in the work place. These workers now bring with them more and more blankspots in their resumes, so dismissing them in the first stage of resume review could leave you stripped of new ideas and limited in productivity.


One's Strength is One's Diversity


On a personal note, I am an individual that has blankspots on his resume, and possibly why my reaction in the conversation with my friend was so emotionally charged. Yet, in review of my professional life it is easy to see that such gaps have impacted my successes. From the different professional positions I have had to the personal-professional and back to personal relationships I have created, they have all been an honest quest at building a true work-life balance. Such professional and personal history combinations continue to separate me from the rest and keeps my ideas fresh and my work motivation high. Such qualities can easily be dismissed if blankspots are an automatic 'no-no' in your curriculum review process. Keep in mind that a change of times calls for a change of mindsets. It's time to switch the script.

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