Professional social network LinkedIn recently began allowing users the ability to fill in gaps on their resume during times in which they weren’t actively working in a traditional workplace.
LinkedIn launched the feature last month, citing changes to the workplace brought on by COVID-19. This feature could benefit caregivers who have to leave their jobs to care for loved ones full-time.
In a blog post announcing the feature, LinkedIn’s Vice President of Global Talent Acquisition Jennifer Shappley explained that, even though one-fifth of hiring managers refuse to hire an applicant who has taken extended time away from work, the pandemic has changed some employers’ perspectives, and time away may not be as stigmatized as it once was.
…the pandemic has changed some employers’ perspectives, and time away may not be as stigmatized as it once was.
“Over the past few years, we’ve seen these work pauses increase even more as the pandemic upended the traditional workplace,” she wrote. “Today, we’re introducing Career Breaks on the LinkedIn Profile. We are hoping this new feature will make it easier for candidates and recruiters to have open conversations around the skills and experiences professionals amass away from the traditional workplace.”
“Caregiving” is one of more than a dozen preset options for types of career breaks now available on LinkedIn. Others include full-time parenting, professional development and travel.
“Caregiving” is one of more than a dozen preset options for types of career breaks now available on LinkedIn.
AARP estimated in 2020, a few months into the pandemic, about 19% of adult Americans work as unpaid caregivers to family members—an increase of nearly 10 million caregivers from 2015 to 2020. The study also showed only about 61% of caregivers were working at the same time, which leaves millions of caregivers vulnerable to potentially toxic resume gaps.
In the LinkedIn announcement, Shappley framed the “career break” option as a way to change the way these resume gaps are thought of, and acknowledged that employers have begun thinking differently of applicants who have taken time off.
“[We are] seeing a shift in perspective: We’ve found that nearly half of employers believe candidates with career breaks are an untapped talent pool,” Shappley wrote. “We’ve heard from our members, including 68% of women, who’ve said they wanted more ways to positively represent their career breaks by highlighting skills learned and experiences they had during a work pause. And for talent professionals, these highlighted pauses will soon show up in Recruiter when they search for candidates.”
To add a career break to a LinkedIn resume, a user can select the “view profile” option under their profile picture on their LinkedIn home page. From there, select “add profile” and then “add career break,” selecting from 13 different types of career breaks and adding a timeframe. The career break will then appear on the user’s LinkedIn profile.
LinkedIn has been around since 2003 and claims almost 800 million users, including 180 million in the United States. The website was acquired by Microsoft in 2016, and uses professional profiles geared toward business, including resumes. Job postings and applications are also a large part of the platform.