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Gap in Resume?

Posted: Fri May 14, 2021 1:42 pm
by Anonymous Poster
Midlevel biglaw lit associate here. I got the talk this week after about a year at this firm. The severance is only a few months. I was just burnt out, disengaged, and began cruising while aimlessly planning for an exit into government and inhouse gigs. I thought I was doing just enough to stay under the radar but the firm apparently took notice. I can probably snag another biglaw/midlaw gig quickly but I honestly do not want to go back to a firm. This puts me in a precarious situation where after my severance runs out, I might be still looking for that inhouse/govt gig. Assuming the firm doesn't extend my website time, is having a gap a death sentence in the current market? I would think companies and governments would not be too critical considering it's a career pivot as opposed to applying to another firm with a gap in employment, which I can see might be a red flag.

Re: Gap in Resume?

Posted: Sat May 15, 2021 10:45 am
by Story
Have you thought about volunteering during your resume gap? It’s probably the least desirable option, but at least you have no gap. I’m sure you could find a nonprofit to volunteer for. Even if you do just part-time, you could put it on your resume during the gap.

But even if you do have a gap, I think most non-prestigious government jobs would not care too much about a small gap. Prestige government would be like AUSA or SG’s office. Without lying, you can say you thought the gap was a good way to have time to reassess and evaluate what your desires were for a good fit in a future job.

Best of luck.

Re: Gap in Resume?

Posted: Sat May 15, 2021 11:21 am
by Anonposter0
Story wrote:
Sat May 15, 2021 10:45 am
Have you thought about volunteering during your resume gap? It’s probably the least desirable option, but at least you have no gap. I’m sure you could find a nonprofit to volunteer for. Even if you do just part-time, you could put it on your resume during the gap.

But even if you do have a gap, I think most non-prestigious government jobs would not care too much about a small gap. Prestige government would be like AUSA or SG’s office. Without lying, you can say you thought the gap was a good way to have time to reassess and evaluate what your desires were for a good fit in a future job.

Best of luck.
Would that make a difference to an inhouse recruiter? Wouldnt it just look like im working 3 months at another (volunteer) job and bailing so quickly?

Re: Gap in Resume?

Posted: Sat May 15, 2021 11:54 am
by Skers
I ragequit my job last year so I could focus on finding something I liked. The question comes up and you just have to have a good answer for it

Re: Gap in Resume?

Posted: Sat May 15, 2021 11:58 am
by Nony
A gap isn't a death sentence, but it is generally better to apply from having a job than applying from unemployment (in part applying unemployed always raises the specter that you were fired and applying from another job makes it easier to avoid that impression). Only you can balance how important it is to not to have a gap - how qualified are you for the in-house/govt gigs you want? How often are those jobs opening up? How much do you need a salary during that time? How much would being at another firm mess with your mental health and continuing job search? I think you can certainly spin a gap as way to transition to a new practice area, but it raises questions not having a gap doesn't raise. Like skers says, you just need to have a good answer prepared.

Also, the point about volunteering isn't to pass it off as an actual job that you'd then be bailing from - the point is to show that you're continuing to be active as a lawyer and get experience (plus it can often be a way to network in itself). Especially since you want to pivot, you can spin it as a way to get experience to help you evaluate your next steps. No one is going to have a problem with you leaving a volunteer position for a full time paid job.

Re: Gap in Resume?

Posted: Sun May 16, 2021 12:46 am
by Anonymous Poster
Nony wrote:
Sat May 15, 2021 11:58 am
A gap isn't a death sentence, but it is generally better to apply from having a job than applying from unemployment (in part applying unemployed always raises the specter that you were fired and applying from another job makes it easier to avoid that impression). Only you can balance how important it is to not to have a gap - how qualified are you for the in-house/govt gigs you want? How often are those jobs opening up? How much do you need a salary during that time? How much would being at another firm mess with your mental health and continuing job search? I think you can certainly spin a gap as way to transition to a new practice area, but it raises questions not having a gap doesn't raise. Like skers says, you just need to have a good answer prepared.

Also, the point about volunteering isn't to pass it off as an actual job that you'd then be bailing from - the point is to show that you're continuing to be active as a lawyer and get experience (plus it can often be a way to network in itself). Especially since you want to pivot, you can spin it as a way to get experience to help you evaluate your next steps. No one is going to have a problem with you leaving a volunteer position for a full time paid job.
This is an interesting proposition. Do you mean go to another big firm and just look for another job while employed? I can probably get another job at biglaw but im risking another firm in my resume and being cemented as the associate who is perpetually changing firms.

Re: Gap in Resume?

Posted: Sun May 16, 2021 1:17 am
by Nony
Yes, that's what I meant. Employers can be concerned about job-hopping, but they can also be concerned about resume gaps, so you kind of have to pick your poison. Personally I'd rather be employed and have an income while job hunting than not, especially because you can't guarantee when an in-house/gov job you're competitive for will open up or when you'll get hired. But that's kind of subjective. I just can't see taking another firm job while you hunt for non-firm stuff being a bigger black mark than not working at all.