Explaining Gaps In Employment On Your Resume
Okay, maybe youre still writing your resume or having trouble getting interviews. How do you explain gaps in your employment on your resume so you can GET interviews in the first place?
Here are a few ways you can explain gaps in employment:
- List years instead of months for previous positions. . Ive used this method in the past when I had a couple of small gaps between jobs . This wont work if you have too many gaps though, or gaps longer than one year.
- If your gaps are longer or more frequent, considering providing a brief note on the resume listing your reason for the gap in employment. Just list it like any other job. Put your previous positions with the dates you held them. And for your gap, youd have dates there too, and a one-line explanation .
If you use these strategies, consider going onto and making the same changes there too.
If these options dont work for you, write a cover letter! This is a good idea no matter what.
In your cover letter, explain what happened in detail and draw their attention to the gap so that you can tell them the full story instead of allowing them to make assumptions .
Thats how Id explain gaps in employment on a resume.
Also, nobody can tell you with 100% certainty what will work in your industry, with the specific circumstances of your gap in employment
Explaining The Gap During Your Interview
You have explained your employment gap on your resume and in your cover letter, but you may encounter it again during the interview. The key here is to rehearse what you will say beforehand. Address the issue in a forthcoming manner, omitting any negative thoughts about the gap. If you were let go due to performance issues, dont disparage your former employer. If you were let go due to an involuntary reason like a budget cut or global pandemic, focus heavily on your stellar performance before the job loss.
Many people lost their jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic, and this can create a gap in employment. Most employers will be sensitive to this and often forgive the gap if it were due to a Covid-19 job loss. Be sure to explain this to your potential employer.
If you intentionally took time off from your careerperhaps to care for an elderly relative or for childrensimply mention this and continue with the interview. Do, however, make it clear that you are ready and eager to return to work. If you took time off to continue your education, show that your coursework is complete. If you took a sabbatical and traveled the world for a year, make it clear that the sojourn is over and that you are ready to move forward in your career and remain in one position for the long haul.
What Are Gaps In Employment
Gaps in employment are periods where an individual is not working. This period can span from weeks, months or years. An individual may have one or even many breaks in employment throughout their career. The length and number of them depend on your situation.
These gaps can occur for a variety of reasons, such as medical leave or time spent searching for a new role. It’s not necessarily undesirable to have such breaks in employment. These can represent a time where you focus on other areas of your life or time you reflect on your career and make new plans. For example, a gap might represent the time you spent caring for your family or taking a break from working to focus on your other interests, such as education.
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Option : Venture Out On Your Own
The easiest way to quickly fill a resume gap is to become a creator. Lets say you recently lost your job as a project manager. Youre still interested in this kind of work, but the wave of layoffs in your sector is causing you concern.
Consider which skills you can leverage while you search for another role. Perhaps your last job provided you with some valuable insights that you could share with other people in your field. You could begin creating content about best practices that companies, employees, and job hunters can use. Within a few months, you may even have enough material to adapt into training modules to share with your contacts.
You may also consider becoming a community organizer or hosting events for people interested in your area of expertise. Today there are plenty of ways to get started from organizing a virtual meetup to creating industry specific Slack and Facebook groups. Clubhouse, an invitation-only audio chat social networking app, is the newest medium for people interested in starting new communities.
The key is to take your niche whatever it may be and use it as a tool to help other people. Whether or not you succeed, you now have a project that shows creativity, drive, and initiative to add to your resume. Not to mention, you will expand your network .
Organize Your Resume And Professional Profile
There are various schools of thought when it comes to how best to craft a resume timeline and online professional profile in response to a work gap. More than a few experts suggest not trying to hide the gap at all, indicating that doing so could potentially do more harm than good.
“Including your career pause avoids mystery gaps on your resume and can help provide the recruiter or hiring manager more context when assessing your application,” says Salvatore, of The Mom Project, which is among a handful of career platforms that have actively sought to provide tools that are more inclusive of diverse life paths.
In the case of The Mom Project that has meant adding The Mom Project Pause, a function that’s part of the platform’s Resume Rev tool. The new feature allows users to add a career break when building a resume on the site. The pause is listed in chronological order so that it seamlessly complements other professional experiences.
LinkedIn has also taken steps to make it easier for people to embrace the diversity of their lives. Most notably, such professional title options as “stay-at-home mom,” and “stay-at-home dad” and other caretaking titles.
These changes are just the beginning. LinkedIn will also roll out such options as “parental leave,””family care leave,” and “sabbatical,” choices to professional profiles to be even more reflective of the world today.
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How To Use A Cover Letter For Explaining Gaps In Employment
Many experts recommend that you commit to using part of your cover letter to deal with gaps. Your cover letter is your introduction to the prospective employer, and your first opportunity to make a positive impression–but that also means that it can be an ideal place to dispense with potential distractions so that the hiring manager can spend his time focusing on the value you offer.
1. Donât dwell on the negatives
Donât lose sight of the positive benefits from your previous employment. There are lots of valid reasons for unemployment, but you can still focus on the periods of employment.
Did a personal tragedy disrupt your life and send you off in search of new meaning for your life? Skip the tragedy and focus on what you learned from that sabbatical.
Did your company shutter its doors, resulting in a lengthy period of unemployment? Give less emphasis to the closing and more to how you used your time on the unemployment line to make yourself an even more valuable hire.
Remember, you want to be positive. Your potential employer doesnât care that your former employerâs third wife embezzled the companyâs accounts and moved to Panama with her 18-year-old paramour. All the hiring manager wants to know is what youâve done since then to make yourself a worthy addition to this company.
2. Focus on your strengths
How To Explain A Gap In Your Cv
If you have gaps in your CV you’ll need to explain these in your cover letter. Find out how to justify holes in your employment history with our example cover letter
You need to account for interludes in your employmentso a potential employer doesn’t misinterpret a break in your career history. If you approach it positively, it shouldn’t be an issue.
Reasons for gaps in your can CV include:
- going on a gap year
- having children
- caring for a sick relative
- suffering from a recurring medical condition
Talk about the gap in the third or fourth paragraph of your cover letter and explain what you did during this time and the skills and knowledge you’ve learned from the experience.
Finish by demonstrating your enthusiasm for the position and add that you’re now ready to focus on your career.
Please be aware that this is an example. Use this cover letter template to help you explain a gap in your CV and structure your own document but avoid copying and pasting. Your cover letter needs to be original and tailored to the job you’re applying for.
Stan StanislasInternational recruitment partnerInternational CompanyInternational HouseNorthtownPJ7 2LX
15th March 2021
Dear Mr Stanislas
Re: International business graduate programme
I would like to apply for your international business graduate programme which I have seen advertised on the Prospects.ac.uk website and on your company website. I am enclosing my CV.
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Do I Need To Explain The Gap On My Resume Or In My Cover Letter
You should always try to reserve mention of employment gaps for your resume rather than your cover letter.
A resume cover letter is a supplemental document that introduces the applicant to the employer.
Cover letters typically include information about work history, skills, certifications, and achievements.
They may also describe the applicantâs career goals and why they will make a good addition to the employerâs team.
Bringing up employment gaps or focusing on your periods of unemployment will not do your cover letter many favors.
In fact, this can be a turnoff to employers who are looking for attention-grabbing information that makes them want to read the rest of the resume.
In some cases, there may be little to no way around mentioning the gap in a cover letter depending on the circumstances of the gap.
If you have to mention the gap in your cover letter, try to focus on how you furthered your skills or found your passion during your time away.
You always want to tie the sentiments in your cover letter back to your professional strengths.
Employment Gaps On Resume Format
- Use a single-page resume with one-inch margins.
- Write with Didot, Cambria, or another trusted resume font in 1012pt.
- Make resume sections like Heading, Summary, Experience, Education, and Skills.
- Add white space to let it breathe.
- Save PDF copies. PDF resumes travel well to different employers.
Expert Hint: You can also try a functional resume or combination resume to spotlight your skills and not your history. Bewaresome recruiters dont like functional resumes.
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Prepare To Answer Questions
If you have a gap in your resume, it’s likely the hiring manager requests an explanation. In that instance, earlier preparation can help you offer a confident and well-thought answer. You can prepare ahead by identifying the reason for the resume gap. After identifying the reason, prepare a brief explanation for the hiring manager. Additionally, some reasons may be personal, so it’s important you determine the extent to which you want to disclose your reasons to the hiring manager. Finally, you can practise your answer, so you can deliver exceptionally when it’s time to give your explanation.
Stop Your Next Gap In Employment Before It Starts
The minute youre out of work
- Do some consulting. Use your skills to do a few hours of week of work.
- Volunteer. Youll build transferable skills like teamwork or leadership.
- Freelance. Take on a small project here or there.
- Enroll in an online class. Lynda classes make great filler for employment gaps on a resume.
Expert Hint: You dont need a full-time job to fill in a resume job gap. Even four or five hours a week of volunteering can help save face for your career.
Double your impact with a matching resume and cover letter combo. Use our cover letter builder and make your application documents pop out.
Want to try a different look? Theres 18 more. A single click will give your document a total makeover. Pick a cover letter template here.
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.
What To Include On Your Resume
There is no requirement that you include all your experience on a resume. That’s especially true if you’ve been in the workforce for many years.
If you are looking for a midcareer position, an entry-level role from decades ago is probably not very relevant.
It is very important not to lie on your resumeabout an employment gap or anything else. If you lie on your resume, it will probably come back to haunt you. Employers verify work history, and if you put incorrect information on your resume, it’ll be discovered.
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Include Experience Gained During The Gap When Relevant
If you can relate the experience you gained during your employment gap to the position you are applying for, then it may be beneficial to include more detailed information in your employment gap entry. You can include specific examples of daily activities and responsibilities you had during your employment gap that are relevant to the duties or responsibilities of the position you are applying for.
For example, if you have an employment gap of two years because you took time off work to be a full-time caregiver for an elderly relative and you are applying for a position as a nurse, the employment gap entry in your experience section may look more like this:
Full-time caregiver, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 2017 – 2019
- Took time away from professional career to act as a full-time caregiver to an elderly relative
- Assisted relative with daily tasks such as feeding, bathing, dressing and grooming
- Administered medications as prescribed three times daily
- Checked vital signs on a regular basis to gauge recovery progress
Why Dont Employers Like Seeing Gaps In Your Cv
Employers do not like to see gaps in your CV because they do not know what you were doing during that time period, and that makes the task of assessing your suitability more difficult them. It can also sometimes cause recruiters to wonder if you are trying to hide something from them, especially if there are lots of gaps.
However, gaps in employment on their own are not necessarily a bad thing.
Its really unexplained gaps that will cause you problems in your CV.
If youre able to explain gaps in your employment within your CV effectively, they should not have a negative impact on your job applications. In some cases, a well described employment gap in your CV can even become a major selling point for you.
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Final Thoughts On Career Gaps
Remember, whatever your career break entailed, its all relative.
A few months out a couple of years ago will probably be ok. However, if youre talking years out of employment, then planning is key.
Its not unusual to have a gap in your employment history and itll only stand out if you dont explain it. The main thing employers want is for you to demonstrate your enthusiasm and readiness to re-enter the workforce.
Finally, confidence and honesty are desirable qualities for any interviewee. Approaching the situation with the right degree of both will speak volumes about your personality.
So be honest and always attempt to address the issue early, allowing the recruiter to concentrate on the rest of your CV. That way, youll have nothing to worry about.
Additional Ways To Explain An Unemployment Gap On Your Resume
If you use the above strategies to explain your unemployment gap, you should also use them on your LinkedIn profile.
Have you tried these methods and none of them seems to work?
You should try to explain what happened in your cover letter because it will allow you to go into more detail.
There is no way of knowing what will work for your case so you should consider trying everything.
You can send ten resumes and if you do not get a response, you should change something. If nothing is working, you cannot keep doing the same things and expecting different results.
You should not be discouraged if a few companies say they are not interested. Just work on your resume and send it to the companies that you are interested in eventually, you will get an interview.
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