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

How to Deal with Employment Gaps on Your Resume

resumeOne of the things to include when you are creating your resume is a list of the jobs you’ve held. Having employment gaps on your resume can raise a red flag to the reader.

Many experts recommend that you list your previous five places of employment, but there is no rule, there are so many variables. At first, writing down the names of the places you have worked seems simple. When you sit down to do it, you quickly learn that it’s more complicated than you thought.

You have to list the jobs, the time frame, job title, scope of the position and relevant accompishments. If you took an amount of time between positions, knowing how to deal with employment gaps on your resume can be a big help to your job search success. 

Temp, Contract, and Lost Jobs

Some people think they shouldn’t mention temporary jobs, contract jobs, or lost jobs. But if you leave an employment gap in your resume, the employer will want to know why.

People aren’t perfect, so even if you were fired from a job, you might need to list it. 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 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 you are 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 reasonable, 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 in your cover letter skillfully.

Be Honest about Gaps:

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

Don’t Hide Employment Gaps On Your Resume:

Don’t try to cover up 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 critical thing about writing a resume and going to your first interview is to stay positive. The more optimistic you are, the better your chances are of getting hired.

Need additional help? Reach out to Candace to learn more!

Photo courtesy of cooldesign /FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

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