Getting back to work while in recovery can seem daunting. Many newly sober people have an extended gap in their employment history or multiple jobs in their past that they didn't leave voluntarily. There are ways to overcome an inconsistent work history.
Here are three tips.
Always be honest
First things first: It may be tempting to fudge the dates of employment history or other unflattering details, but it's important to remain honest on a resume. A long gap resulting from using and/or rehab can be explained as "Dealing with a personal medical issue," or "Receiving medical care." By law, employers may not push for details about a medical condition during the interview process.
Focus on skills
With the employment gap explained, people in recovery can also benefit from a resume that focuses on relevant skills versus previous job titles. Formatting a resume so that it lists specific skills, certifications and achievements at the top is a perfectly viable option.
Candidates should also bear in mind that some employers use applicant tracking systems to scan resumes before a human resources employee ever sees them. Adding an employment section about the type of role one is seeking can help with getting by this obstacle. For instance:
Senior Graphic Designer Experienced designer currently seeking to return to the work force after a medical leave. While seeking a new opportunity, I have been maintaining a personal blog and remaining up to date on Photoshop and Illustrator.
Take a few trainings or classes
There is perhaps no better way to show a potential employer that you’re serious about reentering the workforce than by getting a new certification or engaging in ongoing education. An employment gap can become more impressive if there is evidence that the candidate took an online training or attended an industry seminar to learn new skills during that time.
Getting sober is an incredible achievement and going back to work is a natural step to independence. Gaps in employment can be explained, and it's possible to fill the time before a job offer with useful volunteering and education. Most of all -- never give up hope, and know that many employers are quite understanding.