Do you have gaps in your work history? Perhaps you were unemployed or took time off to spend with your family? No matter the reason for the gap, the best way to handle it is to address it on your resume so it does not raise a red flag for the employer.
Consider the following approaches to address gaps in your resume.
Perhaps you weren’t working for an organization during a particular time, but that doesn’t mean you can’t include something to cover the time period. If you don’t already capture the “empty” dates via continuing education or a degree program, fill in the time slots by listing volunteer work or consulting. Describe what you did in terms most relevant to target employers, and they may not even notice the section technically covers a gap in work history. For example, if organizational skills are key for the job you want, and you served on your local school’s Parent-Teacher Organization running special events, include the information as you would any job.
In general, employers are most interested in knowing you’ve been active and involved in using key skills for the gap periods. Think back to times when you may not have been working and do the best you can to fill in those dates with descriptions on your resume.
Education and continuing education is a great reason for a work gap. If you think it won’t be clear why you have some otherwise unaccounted time on your resume, list your degree program or other classes in your experience section in addition to your education section. Provide detailed information about projects, especially group projects, and don’t forget to include skills you used to accomplish those goals.
Include Details in Your Descriptions
If you left a job for a specific reason, include some type of description in bullet points about that job. For example, if a company eliminated your entire department due to financial considerations, you may list it as a bullet point: “Company closed publication department due to budget issues.” It isn’t necessary to include this type of description unless you believe it absolutely necessary to explain an otherwise unexplainable gap in your resume.
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Be Prepared to Discuss Gaps
Sometimes, the best way to address a gap is to wait for someone to ask about it and to have a good story to tell. Keep in mind; if you have a gap in your resume, you are in very good company. Millions of people overcome this challenge, and so can you. Even if you were fired, you can explain away the situation in a positive way. Do not allow any negative feelings from the situation to come through when you’re connecting with a networking contact or potential employer. You don’t even need to specify you were fired. Instead, you may explain, “My employer and I had divergent ideas about how to handle the problems facing our organization, so I moved on.”
You’ll have explained the gap without raising any concerns.
How have you addressed you work history gaps?