CFO Executive Resume Employment Gap: Is Volunteering Really a Job?

by Meg Guiseppi on July 16, 2012

executive job search: volunteer

I’m working on a resume and LinkedIn profile for a Chief Financial Officer who has been a powerhouse finance management executive across multiple industries – Healthcare, Finance, Publishing, Telecom, Information Services, Technology.

Initially, he characterized himself as unemployed since last December, which left us with an employment gap to be addressed on his resume and elsewhere.

Not a serious problem, but one that warranted consideration.

Although gaps are being accepted more these days in this tough executive job market, unfair as it is, those candidates with consistent employment are typically still more prized.

When we discussed what had been occupying his time for the 7 months since he’d been laid off, he told me about his volunteer work at the corporate level for a world-renowned organization in the non-profit sector.

For the past 2 years or so, he had been traveling to national headquarters and providing critical leadership, counsel, financial modeling and risk management expertise to the organization’s technology and finance people.


We found the perfect solution to his employment gap. This was solid, relevant experience, well-aligned with his value as a CFO, and reinforcing his brand, integrity and compassion as a leader.

But,” my client asked, “this is volunteer work. Can it legitimately be called a job?

I explained that first of all, it’s not unusual these days for senior-level executives to have gaps here and there between jobs. There’s nothing wrong with those gaps being evident, but if we can close the gaps with experiences that support the job seeker’s candidacy, so much the better.

Whether or not you get paid for doing valuable work is irrelevant. He had been contributing many, many hours supporting and improving the organization.

My advice when faced with employment gaps:

  • Look at ANY volunteer work you’ve done.
  • If you’ve been out of work for several months, and really doing nothing, find somewhere to volunteer your time, so you’ll have something to show in your career marketing communications.

Just as your job search should focus on employers who are a good fit for your expertise, your search for volunteering opportunities should focus on organizations that are a good fit for your expertise.

Related posts:

Will Employment Gaps Hurt My Executive Job Search?

Volunteering Powers Up Your Personal Brand, Network, and C-Level Executive Job Search

How to Write An Irresistible C-level Executive Resume in 10 Steps

photo by BluEyedA73

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