How to explain an employment gap on your resume (with examples)

  • Skillroads
  • Blog
  • How to explain an employment gap on your resume (with examples)

The job hunt is never easy. It takes a lot of time and efforts to create a resume that will impress recruiters and make them want to invite you for an interview. But what if your resume employment history is far from perfect? Some of us can take some time off from work for different reasons. Some people take this time to raise a child, finish their education, travel abroad. Some people got laid off or even fired from a previous job and it took a few months to find a new one. What is the perfect way for explaining gaps in employment? We will show you how to create a consistent resume that will demonstrate that you are a reliable professional who is a perfect fit for a job.

gaps_in_employment

Use dates on a resume wisely

If you’re wondering how to explain gaps in employment, the main advice is to stay honest. You don’t have to lie on your resume. Anyway, recruiters will find out about employment gaps and in this case, it would be even worse for you. However, some effective ways will help you to attract recruiters and increase your chances of getting a job.

First of all, there are no strict requirements for including all your job history especially if you’ve been in the workforce for decades. If you are looking for a senior/middle level position then your experience on entry-level jobs that are outdated or don’t correlate with your current career field won’t be relevant.

The easiest way to cover up your recent employment gaps on resume is to avoid mentioning exact months of employment. When you list dates of employment on your resume, you do not necessarily have to list the month/year in case you worked for more than one year.

For example, you can include it like this:

Account Manager - XYZ Company

Boston, MA - 2016 - 2018

Instead of this:

Account Manager - XYZ Company

Boston, MA - January 2016 - August 2017

If you omit months in dates on your resume you will be able to hide and fill the gap. Then if you were unemployed till December 2017, you could easily list it as 2017 and this gap in resume won’t be obvious to recruiters.

Head of Marketing  - XYZ Company

New York, NY - 2018 - Present

Marketing Manager - XYZ Company

New York, NY - 2015 - 2018

Add other professional experience

You can fill the gap in employment history with other activities you have performed during your pause. If you have done some freelance, consulting or volunteering, it will definitely matter in your resume. It will cover gaps in resume and demonstrate to a hiring manager that you didn’t waste your time but kept improving your professional skills or contributed to society. This info can be definitely included in a resume. List the experience as if you would list the common work experience. Include company/organization title, dates and list your main duties, responsibilities and your contribution or accomplishments. If you have undergone some professional training, include your certificates and knowledge gained during classes. Everything will explain gaps in employment and is worth putting on your resume.

“After a successful job performance as a Marketing Manager for XYZ company, I took maternity leave, and then completed my professional certification. During that period, I decided to take my career to the next level and used this time also for developing the skill set needed to succeed on this role.”

employment_gaps_on_resume

Put emphasis on your strengths

By adding a resume section called “Career summary”, you can highlight all your core skills and professional knowledge and briefly describe your main career achievements. It will draw recruiter’s attention to your profile.

In case you stayed at home for a long time and want to make your application as strong as possible, you can create a cover letter for long term unemployed. The best strategy to cover up your career gaps is to create a compelling story and provide some details about your value as an employee and as a professional. The main purpose of this cover letter is to highlight your main strengths.

Recruiters don’t care much about eventual gaps in your career. What matters to them is what contribution you can bring to their team and what abilities and qualification will allow you to perform your duties effectively. A successful cover letter will not just describe your expertise and abilities but their possible implementation in the company you want to apply for. Remember that a cover letter should sell you and your skills. Once again you can additionally describe how you have spent time off from work and how you have used this time to improve your professionalism.

Try different resume format

It’s 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 it’s 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 employer’s 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.

Resume with gaps in employment sample

Here is a great example of a functional resume that will be perfect if you have some employment gaps.

resume_with_employment_gaps_by_Skillrods

Random posts
5 Ways to find jobs that are not posted online

You can monitor job search websites 24/7, but suddenly your friend gets the position you have never heard about at the company of your dream. Intuition? Corruption? Universal conspiracy? Maybe he knows some secret loopholes? Let’s find out!

How to handle «I will get back to you» objections

Have you ever had an amazing interview at an amazing company? From the moment you entered the building, it was unbelievable, the interior looked cute, the employees were enthusiastically buried in work and the coffee points were filled with friendly chatter. To sweeten the deal, the interview was going absolutely great.

 

How to make a flexible working request without losing your job

Employers nowadays tend to improve their workers’ work-life balance and overall working conditions. That is why requests for flexible work schedule are becoming more popular. The number of companies with flexible work arrangements is growing, according to The Personnel Today. But what should you do if there is no flexibility in the workplace at your company? Don’t be afraid. We will tell you how to ask for flexible working hours without any risk to lose your job.

Know the difference: job application Vs. resume

Knowing the difference between a job application and a resume is of paramount importance. The process of applying for a job include submitting two different types of documents: a resume and a job application. At first glance, it can seem that these are two similar documents with the same information, but you are mistaken. Let’s discover what is the essential distinction between them in order not to screw up your employment process.

10 Unique employee benefits to attract top talent

According to Glassdoor research, job seekers listed perks at work among their top considerations before starting a new career path. So they probably wouldn’t reject such an idea. Workplace perks really matter. They can boost motivation, enhance morale, inspire staff and unite team spirit and it’s never too late to add best benefits to your plan. While some companies attract talents by raising salaries, really cool jobs think outside the box to get employees excited about the working time. 

 

7 Job hunt trends you need to know in 2019 and beyond

42% of employers state that there is talent shortage and it’s hard to find the perfect candidate they really need. We have analyzed job search trends and we’re going to show you what are job trends today to make the job search easier for you. Check it out 7 main job market trends to be well prepared and know what to expect in the nearest future from employers and companies.

Awesome tips to deal with an overly demanding boss

Does your working day starts with the boss's critical and insulting remarks and ends with his sarcastic comments of your constant incompetence? Your chief is an abuser, an aggressive psychopath, and manipulator, a true master of physical violence – these are true characteristics of a tyrant.

5 Advantages of using resume writing services

It is not longer than 6 seconds, when a professional recruiter decides whether to invite an applicant for an interview or not. Thus wise, one should really impress a recruiting person with the help of a resume. In the pile of various outlines, which cover the whole table of every HR manager, yours has to stand out of the crowd and that`s what resume writing services do.

How to put education on your resume (with examples)

Each of us knows what it’s like to look for a job; it’s a nerve-racking process which requires lots of time and effort. The situation can be less burdensome if you possess relevant work experience, but what if you don’t? Then educational qualification becomes your biggest asset. So, where should you put it? How to list high school on resume and make it look more solid if you have just finished school or are still studying? All of these issues will be considered in this article.

 

9 Ways to level-up your productivity at work

Staying always productive and making the most of your time is crucial for your further career development. In order to increase productivity and achieve success, you have to be more conscious of how you manage your working hours, what is your daily routine and change your habits if needed. We have prepared for you the most useful tips to boost productivity, ways to improve performance at work and most importantly to stress less.