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How To Fill Career Gap In Resume

The Im Looking To Transition Conversation

Tips to fill resume gaps – How to find a job [Part 6]

Develop a very succinct one-liner for potential employers or networking conversations, such as, I was an international business development manager, and Im coming off a career break, and am now interested in a strategy role in education, Cohen says. Shadowing someone, taking a course, or signing up for a volunteer position in your desired field can signal to an employer that youre serious about making the transition. You can say, I realize Ive been in media, but I want to go into finance now, so I took a certificate course in anti-money laundering and loved it, and thats why Im so focused on this new role now.

That strategy worked well for a media-to-finance transitioner, who landed a job in her new field three months after she completed an online anti-money laundering course, Cohen says.

Avoid Future Gaps On Your Resume

If you recently lost your job, and are worried about how long it will take to get hired in todays market, there are a couple of ways for you to fill anticipated resume gaps while searching for a more permanent role. Our advice: Start a personal project. Being a self-starter is a trait thats valued by the majority of employers. After all, whats more impressive than a person who can create something out of nothing?

Your project can take on many forms, but to figure out where you should be spending your time, think about the next job you want to land. What industry is it in? What positions are most exciting to you? What projects can help you build the skills required for those positions?

From there, there are two directions you can go.

Know When And Where To Share More Information

Theres no reason you need to disclose that you are a stay-at-home parent on your resume. That said, if you feel comfortable, you can absolutely explain your employment gap on your resume or share how your experience as a stay-at-home parent translates to the position you are applying to. For example:

ObjectiveEfficient and friendly receptionist with 5 years of customer-facing experience. Re-entering the workforce after taking an extended family leave. Seeking to leverage my time management and interpersonal skills to become the new receptionist at your company.

Then, go a step further to explain your resume gap in your cover letter and emphasize your qualifications:

In early 2020, my family moved from Seattle to Nashville for my wifes new job at the hospital. Shortly after relocating, the pandemic turned our world upside down as our childrens elementary school shifted to remote learning and my wife began working extreme hours. We discussed the situation and agreed that I should take some time off to help the kids with their schooling at home.

Related:How To Explain Employment Gaps in an Interview

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How To Explain A Big Gap On Your Resume

by Tim Collins | Recruiting Tips, Job Search Tips

When explaining a big gap on your resume be honest and succinct.

A big gap of several months to a year on your resume signals a red flag for companies that are considering hiring you.

People always have a good reason for taking a break from work. Often its a personal issue thats difficult to discuss.

Million dollar question how to remove the big question mark from a recruiters mind and explain the gap in a way that keeps you in the running for the job?

Short answer explain the gap in one or two lines on your resume in the space where the gap occurs.

Try Different Resume Format

Explaining Career Gaps in CVs the Professional Way ...

Its worth mentioning that there exist three main resume formats – chronological, functional and combination resume. Most likely you have heard only of a chronological resume. In this case, your job history is obviously listed chronologically. Most recruiters prefer a chronological resume to functional one but its highly recommended to try out functional resume format to make your gaps less obvious. This resume format is perfect as the focus shifts from your professional experience to skills and knowledge that you have gained during your career life. You still have to list your previous employment but take into consideration our abovementioned advice regarding eliminating months in dates.

While creating your resume and listing your skills you should use an employers job description because it includes all the important keywords a hiring manager will seek in your resume. Focus on skills that are the most relevant to the desired job opening. Concentrate not on your career gaps but on demonstrating how qualified and skilled you are for the job even despite some time off from work. Recruiters will appreciate it more rather than a dry list of job titles.

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You Might Encounter Other Terminology

Career gaps are often described in other ways. Career break, sabbatical, gap year, mini-retirement youve probably heard some of these before.

While each of these terms has slightly different connotations, in essence they all mean the same thing. A career gap is a period of time spent away from work to pursue other interests or a change of lifestyle.

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Include A Compelling Professional Profile

Career objectives are outdated and quite frankly, a waste of space on your resume. Instead, you should begin your resume with a compelling professional summary. This is a high impact introductory paragraph that summarizes your future goals , details 2-3 key achievements and also any core competencies you have relevant to the job you seek. This is basically your 30-second elevator pitch compressed into an impressive 3-4 sentences.

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How To Fill In Employment Gaps On Resumes

How to fill the COVID 19 Gap on your Resume – Career Services
  • Be honest. The employer will learn of gaps in employment on your resume with a basic background check.
  • Be brief. Dont agonize about the employment gap on your resume. Just show it and move on.
  • Be proactive. Show how the gap added to your skill set. See examples below.
  • Give the real reason for the job gap on your resume. Even if you think its silly, most employers wont.
  • Assure employers the resume gap will not recur.
  • Worry about gaps shorter than 9 months. Thats not an employment gap. It just means youre out of work!
  • Cover gaps with dates. Leaving the months off your work history looks like youre hiding something.
  • Lie about the employment gap on your resume by saying you were saving kittens or working on a cure for cancer. Hiring teams can smell lies through a brick wall.
  • Ignore a gap in employment longer than 9 months, especially in a resume for unskilled jobs.


Lets see some good reasons for gaps in employment.

Then Ill give some employment gaps on resume examples.

Expert Hint: Dont talk about the employment gap on your resume in a career summary or career objective. Save the top part of your resume for your brightest selling points.

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Dealing With Employment Gaps In Rsums

It may come as no surprise that Canadian employers are wary of applicants who submit résumés with glaring employment gaps. Employers want to hire motivated, productive, and diligent employees. Gaps on résumés cause concern because they might indicate that the applicant is unable to secure work or hold on to work, could not perform the job duties, disobeyed company policies, or did something else that was seriously wrong or illegal.

Most Canadians will run into a time during their career where they may not be working. In many cases, there is reasonable justification for the hiatus. A person may need time off for a personal reason such as caring for an ailing parent, child rearing, or dealing with an illness. An individual may leave a position for a constructive reason such as upgrading skills, furthering educational credentials, pursuing career development, or performing volunteer work. Or, a company downsizing or bankruptcy may require an employee to be let go.

Ideally, the job seeker needs a face-to-face interview in order to effectively address a period of unemployment. However, its unlikely that an interview will even be offered if the résumé emphasizes the employment gap. It is difficult to fully explain a gap in the text of the résumé, however it is possible to assuage some concerns by purposely sharing personal career successes.

Use a hybrid alternative to the typical chronological and functional résumé formats

List meaningful competencies up front

Common Employment Gaps That Most Employers Understand

Generally, a gap of one or two months on a resume is not a big deal. For larger gaps, recruiters and employers are usually understanding of the following reasons:

  • It takes time to transition between jobs
  • Taking a vacation between jobs or contracts
  • Taking time off work to start a family
  • Adopting a child
  • A death in the family
  • Health reasons such as a serious illness or accident
  • Caring for elderly family members

If none of the common explanations apply, then an absence of five months or longer is a red flag that you may be an unreliable employee. Whatever the reason for a gap on your resume, its best to offer a short explanation in the resume itself.

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Use A Good Resume Writing Service

The one way to ensure your resume markets you in the best way possible is to use a professional resume writing service. Professional resume services match you with an experienced writer providing you with a custom written resume.

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

Employment Gap Resume Example

Taking time away from work to be a full-time parent doesnt have to derail your career goals. While millions of people become stay-at-home parents at some point in their careers, the COVID-19 pandemic led even more parents mothers in particular to leave their job to care for their children.

No matter the circumstances, when its time to find a job after a parental employment gap, the path is not always easy. In this article, we share resume tips for stay-at-home parents returning to the workforce, including examples of how to format your resume and explain the gap in your employment history due to your parenting responsibilities.

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Why Employers Care About Resum Gaps

When reviewing resumés and job applications, potential employers and human resources representatives look for applicable skills, relevant experience, and often, unexplained gaps in employment history.

The reason for this is multi-faceted. A hole in your resumé can mean a number of thingsthat you have purposely left work history off of your resumé in an attempt to hide something, that you unexpectedly lost your job and had difficulty finding a new one, that you voluntarily left your job without having a new position lined up, that you were in prison or otherwise unable to workand all of these could signal to potential employers that you might be a risky hire.

One prominent risk is that the company might spend valuable resources, time, and energy interviewing, hiring, onboarding, and training you, only to see you leave soon after. Whats more, the Society for Human Resources Management reports that the cost of an employee departure can be as high as one-third of that employees annual salary, often allocated as:

  • 67 percent to cover soft costs: Reduced productivity, interview time, institutional brain drain, etc.
  • 33 percent to cover hard costs: Recruiting, background checks, drug screenings, the hiring of temp workers, etc.

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You Know How To Explain Gaps In Employment Now Let’s Get You Hired

The interview is your best chance to demonstrate the value you bring to the company. Need some help? Monster will send you free interview insights, career advice, and job search tips sent directly to your inbox. We’ll help you create a job search strategy that will help you land an awesome new position.

How To Use A Cover Letter For Explaining Gaps In Employment

How to fill those gaps in your resume and show them you care

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

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Begin Your Resume With A Professional Headline

If you have employment gaps on your resume theres a chance the hiring manager may think youre out of touch with you industry, and may have fallen behind. To solve this problem its important to market yourself as a specialist. A subtle way of achieving this is to include a professional headline at the start of your resume. For example:

David Jackson | Financial Analyst

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.

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    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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    When Is An Unemployment Gap Too Long

    There is no exact answer to this question, as everybody’s situation is different. The biggest hurdle to overcome with employment gaps is explaining them to the employer in an effective way. You need to show that your time off was either a necessity or helped expand your knowledge in some way.

    If possible, you should reassure your future employer that it is unlikely to happen again.

    Here is what career expert Alison Green says regarding the length of unemployment:

    “…itâs not the gap itself thatâs an issue. Itâs just that it raises a question of whether there could be something concerning behind it. When you can demonstrate that there isnât, itâs a non-issue.

    As for length, itâs very unlikely that youâll ever even be asked about a gap of a few months or less. In general, gaps donât become a question for employers until theyâre five or six months or longer, and they donât become potential red flags until theyâre longer than that.”

    For more information on the length of an employment gap, we have a related post devoted to the subject: How Long is too Long Of An Employment Gap?


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