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How To Account For Gaps In Resume

Apply To Companies That Understand Mental Illness

How to Address a Year Long Gap on your Resume for Accounting Jobs

Organizations in the health or wellness space are more likely to be understanding and accepting of taking time off to cope with mental illness. Talkspace, for example, has hired several employees who have gaps on their resumes due to recovering from mental health conditions and chronic illnesses.

Most companies prefer employees who can empathize with their values and customers and exemplify their mission. Your health challenges will allow you to utilize a personal angle in your cover letter and identify with any wellness or illness-related missions.

How To Handle An Employment Gap On Your Rsum And Interview

Man writing a résumé and CV on his laptop dealing with an employment gap.


I started working with a new Baby Boomer client who needed help creating a résumé and also wanted interview coaching because she had a significant gap in her employment history. Monica, 62, went on to say that her dad had gotten ill and needed her help in a different state. She said, I took family leave while my dad spent five weeks in the hospital recovering. He then needed to go to rehab, so I had to find a place that would take him. Then the social worker told us that he would no longer be able to live in his home anymore as my Mom just wasnt strong enough or healthy enough to care for him alone anymore. I needed to find assisted living for him and my mother. I was overwhelmed in a new state that I didnt know the system and hospitals. I asked the hospital social worker for direction, and she told me there was a list of assisted living centers online. I should start with those. It took me months to get through the situation, and when my family leave had run out, I still needed to stay and help my parents. My boss wouldnt give me any more leave, so I was forced to quit my job.

Dealing with the Résumé

Handling the tricky Interview

Monica was able to put a few new skills on her résumé because of classes she recently had taken. Her background was in the accounting field, and she had been continuing her necessary education to keep up her license.

Promise Only What You Can Deliver

Now that youre recovering from mental illness, show the recruiter youre capable of bringing value to the company. When promising what you can do, however, only offer what you can deliver. Remember, youre still in recovery, and you dont want to overexert yourself. Even when working within your means, you can still be an amazing employee.

Even with gaps, you can write a resume and cover letter that show recruiters youre worth hiring. Be honest and play up your strengths. This strategy will prove youd be their best hire, no matter what your job history looks like.

Bio: Mary Walton is an editor at Academized, an academic writing service where she helps students improve writing skills. She has an educational blog, Mary has lived and studied in Australia, so now she works remotely for Australian Help, a service for Aussie students.

Talkspace articles are written by experienced mental health-wellness contributors they are grounded in scientific research and evidence-based practices. Articles are extensively reviewed by our team of clinical experts to ensure content is accurate and on par with current industry standards.

Our goal at Talkspace is to provide the most up-to-date, valuable, and objective information on mental health-related topics in order to help readers make informed decisions.

Articles contain trusted third-party sources that are either directly linked to in the text or listed at the bottom to take readers directly to the source.

  • 4 minute read

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List The Reason For Longer Employment Gaps As Its Own Job

You will usually need to address longer periods of gaps in employment more directly in your resume than you need to with small employment gaps. If you have an employment gap that was more than a period of one year, then this gap will still be obvious on your resume even when only listing the years or when using a functional resume format.

You can overcome this by including what you were doing during your employment gap in your experience section as if it were a job itself. However, you can keep the entry brief so it doesn’t distract the person reviewing your resume from more relevant experience. For example, if you spent four years as a stay-at-home parent until your child was ready for pre-school, then you can include this time in your experience section like this:

Full-time parent, Atlanta, GA, 2008 – 2011

Took time away from professional career to raise young children and manage the household

How To Explain Gaps To Potential Employers

9 Gaps In Resume Examples

Explaining resume gaps to your employer is a fine line to walk. On one hand, you dont want to brush over it and risk them feeling apprehensive, but on the other, you dont want to drag it out so long that it becomes your employers primary impression of you.

Heres how to explain gaps in employment while searching for jobs:

  • Be transparent: When explaining gaps to potential employers, honesty is always the best policy. Be transparent and concisely explain why it occurred and what you learned.
  • Assure that its not a pattern: Seeing as it takes an average of six months to get a new employee fully up to speed, employers want to ensure that you dont have a pattern of job hopping in the past so that youre less likely to do it in the position theyre hiring you for.
  • Explain lessons you learned: Highlight what you learned during your time away from the office by sharing soft skills, life lessons or any other important takeaways you had during that period.
  • Be concrete: When explaining a resume gap, you should know what youre going to say before the fact and stick to the script. You want to avoid trailing off or rambling, lest the employer feels youre unprepared or trying to conceal something.

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Dealing With Career Gaps In A Written Application

When preparing your CV or completing an application form, it may be tempting to ignore breaks in your career, in the hope that potential employers wont notice them. However, recruiters view applications carefully and may disregard your application straight away if your CV is full of unexplained gaps.

If the gap is a result of being in prison or losing your job as a result of a conviction, then the good news is you dont need to state this explicitly in your application. This is your chance to sell yourself highlight the positives and leave out the negatives.

What Is A Career Gap

A career gap is a period of time spent out of work or between roles.

This could be a voluntary decision to take a career break for reasons such as travelling or starting a family. Or it might not have been your choice, coming as a result of redundancy or personal circumstances changing.

The important thing to remember is that no career gap is insurmountable. You just need to know how to handle it when it comes to applying for a new role and communicating the gap.

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How To Explain An Employment Gap On Your Resume As A Parent

The days of feeling ashamed of employment gaps are becoming a thing of the past. Parents, it’s time to own your gap and your story.

For what seems like forever, it has been viewed as a professional no-no to have a gap on your resume. And by gap, we’re talking about a period of time during which you may not have been employed either full-time or part-time.

Plenty of us have faced recruiters who ask about these blips in work chronology as if you may have something to hide or perhaps the gap is indicative of some sort of professional failing on your part. But let’s get real, shall we? This view of resume gaps has always failed to acknowledge the full realities of a woman’s life. Vast numbers of women take time to step out of the workforce in order to raise and care for children or look after aging parents or loved ones. Or sometimes, just to live our lives beyond the cubicle and explore other interests and passions.

With the outbreak of COVID-19, the number of women leaving the workforce to attend to other needs, including family care, multiplied practically overnight, as has been well documented by numerous studies.

Fill The Employment Gap And Highlight It

How to Explain a Long Employment Gap on Your Resume – With Examples!

Regardless of why you find yourself in between jobs, you should use that time productively. This approach will keep you busy and help provide valuable talking points when you meet with a recruiter or hiring manager. Some ways to do this include volunteering, taking courses, getting certifications or freelancing. Keep building your professional network and attend virtual events. Then highlight those experiences on your résumé. List them as you would your other jobs, including job title, company name, job description, and employment dates. If you took a class, include it in the education section of your résumé. By filling the employment gap, youll show recruiters that you are proactive and resilient.

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Speak To The Gap In Your Cover Letter

Nobody likes writing cover letters, but they play an incredibly important role in the job application process. Your cover letter is a tool that you can use to explain information that is not easily conveyed in a resumé or job application.

If youve got a substantial gap in your employment history, consider speaking to that gap in your cover letter. Identify the time period in question, and in one or two sentences explain what caused the break in employment. Also mention anything that you did during that time period that could be construed as career developmentfor example, furthering your education or starting a business.

Here, brevity is key. Offer your explanation, and then use the rest of your cover letter to explain the value that you would bring to the company and why you are perfect for the role. If the employer wants further details, they can ask you during any followup interviews that occur.

Show The Employment Gap On Your Resume In Your Experience Section

Where should you put resume gaps?

The right place to show an employment gap on a resume is in your work history.

List it as a sabbatical, and show three things:

  • List the start and end dates of the employment gap on your resume.
  • Give the reason for your resume employment gap.
  • Show you did something positive for your skill set in that time.
    • Worked with teams to cut costs.
    • Facilitated integration of customer software into our workflow.

    See that?

    You were up-front about your gap.

    You also showed the leadership skill they wantin the employment gap on your resume!

    You proved other skills in your work history. You customized your resume.

    Think theyll hold that gap against you? Nope.

    Expert Hint: Put other sections in your resume with skills the job wants. Certifications or conferences you spoke at can help outweigh employment gaps on resumes.

    The ResumeLab builder is more than looks. Get specific content to boost your chances of getting the job. Add job descriptions, bullet points, and skills. Easy. Improve your resume in our resume builder now.

    Nail it all with a splash of color, choose a clean font, highlight your skills in just a few clicks. Youre the perfect candidate and well prove it. Use the ResumeLab builder now.

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    If You Voluntarily Took Time Off

    There are many reasons that someone might decide to voluntarily take time off from work that have nothing to do with employability or performance issues. A desire to travel and see the word, a desire to volunteer and give back to the community, a desire to pursue a side project that you have put offall of these are perfectly valid reasons for a gap to exist.

    In discussing any sabbatical you might have taken, start by explaining the reasons that led you to take the time off. Then explain the ways in which you grew, personally and professionally, from the experience. Portrayed the correct way, these kinds of resumé gaps can actually become a positive item on your CV.

    Use A Resume Style Or Format That Makes The Gap Less Obvious

    Help with a large employment gap and other things : resumes

    Next, you can also try to make employment gaps look less obvious by using a resume style or format such as the functional resume format. A functional resume format focuses more on your skills and achievements than on your experience. You can include sections in your resume such as a career summary statement and key accomplishments to help make the positive experiences you have the primary focus of your resume. Then, include your employment section toward the end of your resume. You can also combine the functional resume format with step three to minimize the impact of small employment gaps.

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    Option : Expand Your Network

    If youre not interested in venturing out on your own, and are more focused on landing your next job as soon as possible, you need to get comfortable reaching out to people, often ones you dont know. Lets walk through a more specific example:

    Lets say that you are someone whos interested in a marketing career and you were recently laid off. You hope to join a company as an audience development associate, but most of your experience is in sales. In your last role, you worked with the marketing team occasionally, but only to give them feedback on product and website copy.

    What should you do?

    As a first step, make a list of all of your friends, family, and acquaintances that run or work at small businesses. Email them offering to help with different marketing activities, like growing their social media following or getting influencers to share their products. If you run out of people that you know, reach out to small brands you find on Instagram for products that resonate with you, and offer to help them reach new audiences by introducing them to communities that you belong to or online groups that you can help them gain access to.

    If you do enough outreach, some of these people will engage with you, and pretty soon youll have a portfolio of clients that can speak to the value youre able to bring to a team. Even if you dont get paid for some of this work, it is still experience that can be referenced on your resume.

    What Are Employment Gaps On Resumes

    Employment gaps are periods during your professional career in which you did not have formal employment. An employment gap can range in length from a period of several months to a period of several years and can occur voluntarily or involuntarily. Employment gaps on a resume can be a cause for concern if you don’t explain the reason for your gap in employment and the experience you gained during that time carefully.

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    Caregiver Skills On Your Resume: Include Or Leave Them Out

    Taking care of a young child or an ailing parent requires a unique set of valuable skills. Multitasking, punctuality, ability to make decisions under pressure, managing calendars and budgets the list goes on and on.

    The big question is, should you include those skills on your resume?

    The short answer is: it depends. If your experience during the leave was relevant for the position you are seeking, list the skills you used or developed.

    For example, if you took a year off to care for your sick parent and developed skills that make you a great candidate for a nursing position, include them. Hands-on experience with medication management, assistance with activities of daily living, coordinating physical therapies, and leading therapeutic recreation would all be highly relevant in this situation. Similarly, if you are seeking a position in a non-profit organization that includes fundraising responsibilities, your success in organizing a silent auction to benefit your daughter’s theater program at a local school could highlight your strengths.

    However, if the experience isn’t directly related, don’t feel obliged to force the fit. Instead, focus on any formal and informal professional development you may have pursued during your time out of the workforce. That might include online courses, continuing education seminars, conferences, independent study, professional networking and more.

    How To Handle Employment Gaps In Your Resume

    How To Explain Employment Gaps in Your Resume
    • Recruitology

    Life doesn’t always happen neatly, in perfect sequence. It’s messy and unpredictable. Resume gaps can happen for a ton of different reasons, many of them unavoidable and out of your control. Despite being a fact of life, employers may be concerned about your willingness or ability to work. Here are some ways to handle noticeable employment gaps.

    Include experiences during the gap

    Think back to everything you did during that time. Is there anything that added to your skills or accomplishments? Did you donate your time, further your education, learn a new skill? Add it to your resume!

    Don’t list every job

    It’s always best to customize your cover letter and resume to the job you’re applying for and not every past job will be relevant to the position in question. Only listing your most relevant employment will make gaps much less noticeable.

    Don’t list start & end months

    If you ended a job in February 2017 and didn’t start the next one until November 2017, that’s a pretty obvious gap. If, on the other hand, you just say you were at the first job from 2015-2017 and the next job from 2017-Present, now no one’s the wiser that there even was a gap.

    Addressing gaps during the interview

    Keep in mind…

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