I was formerly ambitious and driven. I had some great side gigs during university, got an academic scholarship to study for free and after graduating I found a position in the head office of a bank.
I hated this job and resigned after 9 months. I communicated that I was grateful for the opportunity and was happy to stick around as long as needed. My manager was understanding, and I left on good terms.
I decided to take some time off and used savings to do a lot of travel and moved overseas. I've since been getting by with freelancing work.
However, I had a medical issue that resulted in me becoming visually impaired and unable to work for 1.5 years. I've managed to adapt and can now work with magnification. I now have half the sight of a normal person, and you'd probably never notice I'd had any issues if you saw me out and about.
I'm looking for a full-time position that challenges me and pays well, but I feel
- I'll be overlooked in favour of candidates who have similar experience but no history of medical issues
- I'll be seen as a potential problem / lawsuit in the future
- My references are all now 4-5 years old
I have a big gap where I was travelling (1 year), struggling with health (1.5 years) and throughout that freelancing and just making ends meet.
A friend has informed me to just say I worked for his firm as a developer for four years. I'm not so comfortable with this as while I'm okay at what I do, I don't think I am anywhere near the ability of someone who has worked full-time for four years. He says they will think I'm just looking for work to fill in a down period in my freelancing and will jump ship as soon as I land the next deal. However, I also feel I am above the level of a junior starting out, as I have been managing my work as well as P&L, clients and the occasional freelancer for a few years now.
My parents tell me it takes courage to go through what I've gone through and come out a better person and that it shows I'm determined to keep working, even when things are looking bad. They believe I should be honest and tell them about the ways in which I've matured and what I've learned though my experiences.
How do I overcome such a large gap in my resume? I'm worried if I'm honest my medical history will hurt my chances, but I'm not completely comfortable making up experience like my friend suggested.