I am a mid-level software engineer and expecting layoff in the coming month. As the market situation is very tight right now, I am thinking to take a break to give myself enough time to prepare and land a good opportunity instead of just accepting something which is below my calibre. I have 10+ years of experience and never had a career gap in my resume. How much gap in a resume is acceptable and not questioned (or frowned upon) by recruiters or hiring managers? Blind posts tell me that it is taking some people 6 months or even 8 months to land into a new role.
I can share some of thoughts here.
Having been through a layoff in the past, this was my concern as well.
and expecting layoff in the coming month.
It can be hard to be deterministic of whether one will be laid off or not, and Intuit (IMO) is doing well.
I am thinking to take a break to give myself enough time to prepare and land a good opportunity instead of just accepting something which is below my calibre
I had the same thought : Do I accept something now versus do I wait for the right opportunity? Since you are okay with a 6-8 month gap, I can conclude you are not limited by the visa issues.
Here are some key points I would consider:
It's important to unpack why there is a stigma behind a "CV gap", so we can deal with it objectively.
Common stigma (all of which I strongly disagree with, but it does exist unfortunately):
What you can do about it:
If you do this, don't feel the need to "explain yourself" during the interview, just point them to your work and leverage social proof regarding the positive impact your work has had on others.
If you'd like to take more of a sabbatical, don't be ashamed of that either. Don't feel the need to overexplain your time off for personal reasons, hobbies, etc. We're all human and thankfully it's much more widely accepted and even encouraged to do this every 10 years of so in your career to recalibrate / enjoy life outside work a bit. You can still do a lot of the things such as documenting and publishing your journey for non-career things. You'd be surprised the positive reaction it get since most people yearn to do that for themselves, but feel stuck in their own jobs.
Feel free to DM me if you'd like to explore this further. After all, I've stepped away from my corporate job to make my side hustle my full time job now, so I've thought about this topic quite extensively.
At the end of the day, you can't prevent people from being dumb (and I think any sort of discrimination against a career gap is being dumb). There will always be ridiculous recruiters and hiring managers that discount people with just 3-6 month career gaps. However, here's what I will say:
How to properly take career break after layoff?
My advice here is to take a real break! You mentioned doing interview prep to land a higher caliber role - I think that's important for sure, but it seems miserable to just grind LeetCode for 6-9 months desperately hoping for Google or whatever to lift their hiring freeze.
In terms of things to do on the break:
I recommend checking these out to help with all this:
Best of luck!
Thank you for all the kind responses. I will keep my confidence high as I navigate this rough phase.