Resume Gaps Due to Periods of Active Addiction: How to Address this with Potential new employers?

Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC, Special Projects Coordinator at Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope

suit-407086_640Going back into the work force after dealing with an addiction can be challenging. Whether you had a successful career or are just attempting to find a job, explaining periods of absence in your work history can be a difficult aspect of finding work and restarting your career.

Perhaps you have taken time off to receive treatment and help for your addiction problems. Or maybe you have missed intermittent periods of work due to complications of your addiction or times of active engagement in your addictive lifestyle. Whatever the reason may be, there may likely be gaps in your work history.

Don’t Regret Getting Treatment

As you begin to prepare for a transition back into the workforce, it is important not to undermine the success you have made in your recovery. You may feel disheartened or discouraged about the setbacks in your career created by your addiction.

You may even be struggling with a job loss or overall financial difficulties. Know that by making your recovery and treatment a priority, you have done the best possible thing for yourself and your life. Repairing your life after an addiction is something that occurs gradually, and this includes rebuilding a career.

Your Résumé and Tools to Help

hand-226708_640An important part of preparing to return to the workforce is revamping your résumé and putting together a professional and cohesive summary of your qualities and accomplishments. This can be an overwhelming process, especially if you have been out of the work force for sometime.

Utilize the many tools and resources that are available for people who are building a career and searching for jobs. There are many free resources available on the internet and social media sites for professionals, like Linked In. You may be able to collaborate with other professionals who have experience in résumé building.

This may also be a good place to search for tips for having a successful job interview. Do not be afraid to reach out for professional assistance as well. There are individuals who can help guide you through this process and help you feel as prepared as possible for reentering the workforce.

Dealing with Gaps in Employment

As you work on rebuilding your résumé, you may find that there are gaps of time in your work history. Perhaps you had to leave a past job unexpectedly due to your addiction, and this can also cause questionable longevity within job positions.

It is important to build your résumé honestly and to have this mentality when preparing to interview with future employers. Where there may be gaps in your work history, you can fill with qualities or skills about yourself that qualify you for the job position. While work history is an important part that is considered by employers, it is not the only factor they are looking at.

If your potential employer does question your work history in your interview, honesty is always the best approach. There are ways to disclose your struggles appropriately, such as mentioning that you needed to take time off to address medical complications or for health concerns, etc. Your future employer will likely appreciate and value your straightforwardness and honesty.

You May Have to Redo Some Steps in Employment

hand-299675_640If in your job search, you find yourself being turned down from positions or your attempt to reenter the workforce difficult and challenging, do not be discouraged. Be aware that it may take some time to reestablish your career and find a job that you enjoy. It may be necessary to start at a lower position to gain experience before moving up and onward in your career.

This is not anything to be ashamed of – look at it as a natural part of your healing in your recovery journey from addiction. When considering a job after addiction recovery, it is also important to assess the nature of the job and determine if this is something that will support your sobriety and ongoing recovery from addiction.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

Are you a recovering addict that has successfully reentered the workforce? What challenges or obstacles did you face in your journey? What tools or resources were helpful to you in making this transition?

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on July 7th, 2015
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About Baxter Ekern

Baxter Ekern is the Vice President of Ekern Enterprises, Inc. He contributed and helped write a major portion of Addiction Hope and is responsible for the operations of the website.