16 years of expertise writing resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, and providing interview career coaching to help clients land the perfect position.

Dealing with Employment Gaps in Your Resume

employment gapsDealing with employment gaps in your resume is an art that needs to be taken seriously. One of the things that you need to include when you are creating your resume is a list of the jobs you have held. Most experts recommend that you list your previous five places of employment. At first, writing down the names of the places you have worked seems simple. When you actually sit down to do it, you quickly learn that it is more complicated than you originally thought. You have to list the jobs, the time frame, your job title, duties, and your reason for leaving.

Don’t Omit Experiences

Some people think that they shouldn’t mention temporary jobs, contract jobs, or lost jobs. But if you leave a gap in your resume, the employer will want to know why. People are not perfect, so even if you were fired from a job, you need to list it and the reason you were fired. Employers want honest workers. Even if you think the skills of a certain job don’t meet the skills you need for this job, list it anyway, the employer may see beneficial skills that you don’t recognize. Even if you took a year off to take care of your mother, you need to explain the employment gap.  Unexplained employment gaps on a resume don’t look good.

If you do have gaps in your employment history, here are some simple solutions to help you deal with them:

• Getting Started:

To get started, just start writing.  Don’t worry about writing about your professional skills and accomplishments until later. You should start out by writing down the reasons why you are working on drafting a new resume. Consider why you are looking for a new job, and what are you hoping to accomplish when you get it. Eventually, you will use this information to create your resume.

• Filling the Gap:

If the gap in your employment history is short (less than three months in duration), don’t worry about it. Short gaps between jobs are perfectly normal and a potential employer won’t give them a second thought. If the gap is longer than ninety days, you will have to provide an explanation, which is usually done in your cover letter.

• Be Honest about Employment Gaps:

When you are explaining a long gap in your employment history, you need to be honest. You don’t want to spin a fantastic story and have your employer find out the truth down the road. If the employer finds out you were dishonest on your resume, they could use that as grounds to dismiss you (and they will always find out). Most employers will appreciate the honesty.

• Don’t Hide Employment Gaps:

Don’t try to hide the gaps in your employment history. It is better to leave the gap and explain why the gap exists, than to try covering it up. Remember that most potential employers will call your previous employers, and they may ask about the time frame that you worked there.

• All Your Skills Count:

Don’t assume that just because you don’t think a certain job had anything to do with your career objective that it should be left off your resume. You already know that the gap will lead to questions, and it is better to have some form of employment instead of none at all.

The really important thing about writing a resume, and then going in for your first interview, is to stay positive. The more optimistic you are, the better your chances are of getting hired.

How have you dealt with employment gaps in the past? Comment and share below! If you’re worried about how to approach a gap, reach out to Candace for assistance!

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