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This question already has an answer here:

I find myself currently unemployed and intend to seize this opportunity to wait one whole year before actively seeking new employment. I do intend to take on a new job after this year, and in the meantime will be maintaining my online resumes with new accomplishments and skills.

I regard this time as part of my "career" (as opposed to taking a break from it), and I want my resume to show that it is deliberate and not an unfortunate gap while unsuccessfully seeking employment.

My conundrum is simply this: during this period, what would be a meaningful "occupation"? This is mostly for my LinkedIn profile, which will of course stay online during this period; afterwards, I'm sure I can come up with a meaningful phrase for my resume to "explain the job gap".

I plan to use this opportunity to engage in a number of time-consuming personal projects, advance my skill set by (among other things) taking (online) courses and certifications, writing a book (nothing serious, certainly no fountain of wealth), and last but not least enjoy my free time with my family (our daughter is a toddler). I'll also be spending time on personal development (which is rather too fluffy to put a better name on).

Coming back to work, I might be looking for a part time position, and I wouldn't rule out a change of profession, too. Most of my career I've been a software architect/developer/maintainer, and I do enjoy that sort of work but it might not be the best work for me -- I've never really taken time to consider otherwise.

Just to be clear, I believe this is distinct from (How do I explain not actively looking for a job until a year after I was laid off?) in that I am asking what to do during, not after the period where I'll not be holding a job. Another post (Taking a break between jobs) was closed for being off topic; I hope to avoid the same fate by asking a specific (and, I believe, interesting) question.

marked as duplicate by gnat, bharal, IDrinkandIKnowThings, Monica Cellio Feb 25 '15 at 1:55

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • as pointed in comments in a very similar question, top answer in the duplicate is really good, and other answers are relevant too – gnat Feb 18 '15 at 13:10
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    You're both thinking after, I'm thinking during. I'm getting quite a few requests from head hunters, and I would not like to "squander" the attractiveness of my LinkedIn profile. – KlaymenDK Feb 18 '15 at 13:14
  • did you check the answer referred in prior comment? – gnat Feb 18 '15 at 13:28
  • Yup, I did, and while it is a very good answer (thank you for bringing it to my attention), it is not a very good answer to "what to specify as "occupation" during the gap, so that it is clear that it is deliberate. – KlaymenDK Feb 18 '15 at 13:41
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    @KlaymenDK just put on your linked in profile "not looking for work", or limit who can contact you. you don't need to put a new fake role up. – bharal Feb 19 '15 at 15:18
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during this period, what would be a meaningful "job title"?

Since your plan is to wait one whole year before actively seeking new employment, then during that year you won't have a job.

So "meaningful job title" has no real meaning in this context. You won't have a job, hence no job title. Most CVs/resumes I have read would just leave a gap in the Employment History section, and not try to force something in there to account for this year.

I plan to use this opportunity to engage in a number of time-consuming personal projects, advance my skill set by (among other things) taking (online) courses and certifications, writing a book (nothing serious, certainly no fountain of wealth), and last but not least enjoy my free time with my family (our daughter is a toddler).

Okay, so perhaps this provides a way that you may wish to spin it, if you feel you must proclaim some job title.

  • You could call yourself a Student
  • You could call yourself an Author
  • You could call yourself a Stay At Home Dad

No matter what Job Title you claim, be prepared to explain it during interviews down the road.

I suspect you'll raise fewer eyebrows if you aren't misleading in your CV. I'd worry that claiming a Job Title when you don't have a job will come across as odd or sneaky. It's not something I would do, but your mileage may vary.

  • You're right, I would hate for it to be misleading; I might have phrased it poorly. If I replace "what to write on CV?" with "what to write on LinkedIn?", would that change your impression? Maybe I should edit the title of my post, too. – KlaymenDK Feb 18 '15 at 13:04
  • See, that was my initial idea, but LI isn't exactly Facebook and I figured it might come across as rather too casual -- so I came here to ask. – KlaymenDK Feb 18 '15 at 13:09
  • ...so, no job title, just remove my last employment info and leave it at that? To me, that seems ... less "deliberate" or "judicious", if you know what I mean. – KlaymenDK Feb 18 '15 at 13:27
  • Err, I can't very well state that I still work at a company when that's not the case. This is for the topmost part of the LinkedIn profile, not for the list-of-prior-positions where it will naturally stay listed! (Sorry, don't have enough rep points log into a chat.) – KlaymenDK Feb 18 '15 at 13:47
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Possibly a Sabbatical, so your job title is <Whatever you are now> although this usually means a break from a single position, which is then returned to. Combining this with "Taking a sabbatical to travel", however, is something you can definitely talk about and justify.

Alternately perhaps consider your "Time consuming personal projects" as starting your own business, making you an Entrepreneur, which is certainly a worthy pursuit which you can talk about and justify. Failing to start your own business is often seen in just as good a light as succeeding... the lessons learned can be immense, and the fact you then stopped to return to work at an appropriate time shows good judgement. And you never know... it could take off.

Taking online courses and certifications limits, to an extent, your ability to state that you were in education or training, making you a Student - but have you considered enrolling in a part time education course? This would be both useful, and could tally well with starting your own business: giving you an angle along the lines of "I wanted to start my own business, but knowing that it was a risk I decided to use the time to increase my own knowledge. It also allowed me to leave the course if the business took off, without letting an employer down". In fact, if you have an interest in that direction, how about a part time course regarding running a business?

Obviously these suggestions only work if you actually intend to undertake the above activities, but by the sounds of things they aren't too far from your intentions anyway.

The other approach would be to state that you took time off for personal and family time: I'm not quite sure what you'd call yourself during this time, and it would be more acceptable in some industries than others, but it's an option.

  • Thanks for the near-immediate reply! I considered the "sabbatical" term, but discarded it for your exact reasons. Plus, I won't be travelling more than usual. Sorry, but my "projects" have nothing to do with generating income; rather, they're a bunch of practical matters. I could take an education, but that would take longer and not free up my time to work on my personal development. Also, although I would get paid to take an education, it would be about 1/3 of what might be roughly translated into "unemployment benefits", which would of course have a far greater impact on our finances. – KlaymenDK Feb 18 '15 at 12:54
  • I think you could perhaps still use "sabbatical" in conjunction with an explanation, if you can work that into the description. I'd suggest it's more appropriate if you're in a managerial role, as it's more believable that you can justify (/afford) taking a year out, and that you would wish to take a break between high powered roles. It would still be relevant in professional roles, but is perhaps not a good option if you work in a shop (The natural question being: "Why didn't you just go part time?") – Jon Story Feb 18 '15 at 12:57
  • Ah, part time is actually part of my plan for returning to the job market; however, converting to a part time position was not possible. – KlaymenDK Feb 18 '15 at 13:07
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I would agree with the notion of "sabbatical" but there are other options.

In my country (UK) it's very easy to set up a company. Consider creating a corporate entity and doing odd jobs through that. This allows you to write on your CV...

CEO - MyCorp - February 2015 to Current

As founder and CEO of my own XYZ Agency, I have been delighted to provide cutting edge ABC to a variety of local clients, including...

I also released a number of Open Source projects of benefit to the $foo community. For example...

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    Although do beware that saying "CEO of Man With a Van Inc" is liable to lead to questions that will penetrate your cunning ruse and reveal that you're spinning a few odd jobs as an executive role. Might as well say "2015 -- odd jobs" or just "freelance" ;-) – Steve Jessop Feb 18 '15 at 19:41
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    Saying you were working as a freelance is better; plus you don't even need to set up a company which avoids wasting your time on paperwork. – user16198 Feb 18 '15 at 22:40
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If you're serious about writing that book and you expect to finish and publish it (even independently) within the year you're taking, then I'd emphasize that as the reason for the time you're taking from the rest of your career. Bonus points if you can get the book to relate back to your past or future career, even loosely or tangentially (topics like self-help, productivity, etc.). It doesn't have to become a bestseller or even make you any money, just the accomplishment of publishing a book in itself looks great and should more than adequately justify what might otherwise look like a lapse. "Published Author" is a nice title to have from any point of view.

If you don't want the book to become a chore, consider filling that year with "light" freelance work instead. Make and sell a mobile app, or do some web development. It sounds like income for the year isn't an issue for you, so you can set your own pace and workload.

Consider taking the opportunity to try amateur research in your field. Find a subject that interests you and learn about it through experimentation. For example, I'm playing with neural network AI in my spare time. I'm not doing anything groundbreaking, but it gives me lots of interesting things to talk about and demonstrate my passion and aptitude for the field with when someone even remotely technically-minded (e.g. a prospective employer) asks what I've been spending my free time on. It's just a hobby that's not yet yielded anything worth putting on a CV, but it's clearly not a waste of time either. And you never know: you might just find a new calling, or even happen upon a scientifically significant discovery along the way.

If research isn't attractive to you, look into starting or joining an open source project, especially one providing valued tools or services. You can contribute as much or as little work as you like, and any amount of contribution to a popular open source project yields bragging rights (assuming your contributions are merged into the final product).

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    I don't have the rep to upvote you, but I do like your answer. Thanks! The OSS contribution thing is alreay on my list (and has been for years, yeah...). – KlaymenDK Feb 18 '15 at 18:07
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I plan to use this opportunity to engage in a number of time-consuming personal projects, advance my skill set by (among other things) taking (online) courses and certifications, writing a book (nothing serious, certainly no fountain of wealth), and last but not least enjoy my free time with my family (our daughter is a toddler). I'll also be spending time on personal development (which is rather too fluffy to put a better name on).

It sounds like you already have the things you can put on your resume for that period of time.

I wouldn't mention athings like "free time with my family", or how low-intensity your writing is (and trust me, writing is harder than you think), but you can definitley put the following things on there:

  • Personal Projects (Name them specifically, unless they're not related to your work or career)
  • Online Courses (By name)
  • Certification (By name)
  • Writing (If the subject is related to your career)

Large holes in your career can look very suspicious - I'd focus on the personal development you're taking part in during this 'off-time', especially projects related to your career and courses/certification you pursue. Maybe your book-writing, but only if writing is also related to your career.

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It is a shame that people are compelled to maintain an uninterrupted, fully predictable career trajectory and if they don't follow that "script", they have to justify these life choices to a stranger (a hiring manager) for his judgement.

To answer your question, the easiest solution is to put "[your profession here] Professional" on LinkedIn as your "job", then write a blurb about your book and being a stay-at-home dad. This title is sometimes seen as a codeword for "unemployed" but maybe not in your case if you can clearly demonstrate you're busy with other things.

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