Should I leave a gap in my resume or take a less than ideal role?
As with almost any career decision, the answer is that it depends. It depends on your own personal circumstances and where you are on your career journey. Some of us have school loans to pay off and would prefer to be working. Some of us have dependents that we are providing for. And some of us are on a defined career path where taking a ‘less than ideal’ role may prohibit you from returning to your original career track when the market picks up. On the other hand, some of us are in a more flexible position and a less than ideal role will not have a major effect on your career (and may even lead to unforeseen opportunities in the future).
There are two things to keep in mind right now. First, remember it’s a career journey, not so much a career ladder anymore. There will be bumps in the road, unexpected developments, and even dead ends, but that’s okay. Second, acknowledge that our circumstances are unprecedented, and everyone will remember it. So, don’t worry about a change in direction or a gap in your resume; you’ll only need to tell a prospective employer ‘Covid-19’ and most will understand. You’re not alone – there’ll be many strong lawyers with a gap in their resume as well.
I’ve come across several resumes in the past where there were gaps during previous recessions and no further questions needed to be asked. I’ve also come across seemingly questionable resumes during strong economic periods but when I addressed the issue, the candidate provided a reasonable explanation that dispelled any doubt.
I suggest contacting a knowledgeable legal recruiter with expertise in the market; whilst friends and colleagues can provide a sympathetic ear, you really need the advice of an expert to discuss your personal circumstances and how a new role will affect your career trajectory. Right now, legal recruiters are speaking with many lawyers facing similar situations and they can provide a wide perspective on the market. They can help you develop your individual story and identify how to best frame your career journey.