February 15, 2016

How To Explain Employment Gaps On Your Resume

Do you have any employment gaps on your resume? Employment gaps are large chunks of time where you were not employed. Whether the reason was voluntary or involuntary, hiring managers and recruiters see employment gaps as a major red flag on your job application.

Businessman Jumping Between Gap In Rocks

Of course we all wish we could hide these professional blemishes from our resumes, but that’s not the best strategy. HR professionals will always find out about employment gaps – that’s their job.

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It’s usually best to be up front and honest about any employment gaps on your resume. Always address the issue immediately – either in your cover letter or in your interview. Depending on why you have an employment gap, it may be a complicated topic to discuss, but do your best and strive to be honest.

Use these simple steps to explain employment gaps on your resume:

  1. Supply background information
  2. Explain who, what, why, when, where, and how you spent your time.
  3. Spin it positively.

Usually employment gaps happen for reasons like:

  • Personal Issues – Health, family, and home issues often take priority over a job. If this is your situation, explain it and most people will understand.
  • Gap Years – Sometimes you just need a break from work life. If you take a gap year, use it wisely. Go back to school, travel, or volunteer. Make the most of your time, but don’t forget about your resume while you’re off having fun. See Also: How To Plan A Gap Year
  • You Quit Your Last Job – If you quit your job, explain why you did so.
  • Lengthy Job Searches – The job search can take time. Recruiters should understand that.
  • You Were Fired – Don’t be ashamed that you were fired. Explain your situation. Be prepared for further questions though.

There may be other reasons why you had an employment gap on your resume, but regardless of why you have a gap, you need to be able to explain your situation.

Don’t let an employment gap on your resume come back to haunt you later on down the line. If you know that you’re currently unemployed, do a few simple things to help fill those employment gaps on your resume. Try volunteering, take a class, start a blog, find freelance work, or do something worth talking about like biking across the country, traveling around the world, or starting your own business.

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If you have an employment gap on your resume, get ready to explain your situation with a positive spin. Be creative and confront the employment gaps on your resume head on. Recruiters will respect this and they usually will understand your situation and appreciate your honesty.

About this Author 

Derek Lennon is a skier and writer who lives, works, and plays in the mountains. He travels the globe in search of snow and adventure. Life has allowed him to live and work all over the world doing cool jobs and loving every minute of it.

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