How To Explain Gaps in Employment on Your Resume

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In our unpredictable and fast-paced world, gaps in your employment history can happen to anyone. Perhaps you took a break to travel the world, took a mental health break, couldn’t find a job for a while, took care of a loved one, decided to take a break from everything or just binge-watched Netflix.

Regardless of the reason, it’s important to know that employment gaps are not uncommon and shouldn’t deter you from your career goals. Of course, we all know that these things happen but are all recruiters and hiring managers on the same page?

Sadly, not always. So let’s explore some ways how you can address these gaps like a boss on your resume.

Embrace Honesty and Transparency

Transparency is key when discussing career gaps on your resume. Be candid about the reasons for your employment break, but avoid unnecessary oversharing. Being honest and clear in your communication can help you come across as a trustworthy job candidate, which is something that employers value.

Choose the Right Format

Minimize the impact of career gaps by opting for a functional or hybrid resume format over the traditional chronological layout. A functional resume emphasizes your skills and achievements, spotlighting your offerings to potential employers instead of spotlighting your employment timeline.

A hybrid resume blends both formats, allowing you to highlight your skills while maintaining a reverse chronological work history.

Emphasize Important Work Experience

If your career gap involved activities related to the job you want, be sure to include them in your resume. This can be anything from freelance work and volunteering, to getting certified, or pursuing other professional development. These experiences can fill the gap and show that you’re still committed to your field.

Explain the reasons for the Gap

When discussing a career gap, providing context is vital. Offer a concise explanation in the employment history section, emphasizing the positive aspects of your hiatus. For instance, if you took time off to care for a family member, focus on the skills you gained, such as organization, time management, and communication.

Spotlight Transferable Skills

While on your career break, you probably gained some seriously transferable skills. Let potential employers know about your adaptability and resourcefulness by featuring these skills on your resume. This lets them see your ongoing professional growth, even during periods away from the workforce.

Prepare for Interview Discussions

Your resume is merely the initial step in addressing career gaps. Be prepared to delve into them further during interviews. Practice responding to questions about your career gap confidently and succinctly, concentrating on the positive elements and the skills you acquired during that period. Demonstrating self-awareness and confidence will reassure potential employers of your readiness to rejoin the workforce.

Adopt a Positive Attitude

When discussing a career gap, adopt positive language to describe your time off. Reframing your break as a productive and valuable experience enhances your career narrative.

Showcase Personal Growth

If your career break involved focusing on personal development, such as improving mental health, feel free to mention this in your resume. This demonstrates a commitment to self-care and well-being, traits that are attractive to potential employers.

Proactively Address Gaps

Consider addressing career gaps upfront in your resume, rather than awaiting potential employer inquiries. This proactive approach signals confidence and readiness to discuss your career trajectory transparently.

Maintain Conciseness

While it’s essential to explain any career gaps, avoid excessive dwelling on them. Keep your explanations succinct and refocus on your current skills and qualifications. Your resume should accentuate the present and future, not fixate on the past.

Last Thoughts

Career gaps don’t have to be a big deal in your job hunt. Just remember to be honest, pick the right resume style, and focus on experiences that matter. Don’t forget to explain the gap, show off your transferable skills, and get ready for any interview questions about it. This way, you can turn a possible drawback into a chance to flaunt your bounce-back ability, flexibility, and personal development.

Find your next career opportunity with the “Job Search Guide” book.


Copyright: © Jan Tegze, 2023. All Rights Reserved.