Explaining Gaps In Resumes: Quick Tips

Gaps In Resumes

Gaps in resumes happen. Not every career path follows the traditional school, training/higher education, enter the workforce and stay there model. Life is unpredictable. Family or other commitments may require you to have time off from your career, or you may choose to spend a year travelling the world. It could be that you’ve simply had difficulties finding employment. Whatever the case may be, gaps in resumes are becoming increasingly common. The important thing is learning how to explain gaps in your employment history with confidence.

Be Honest

Ignoring an employment gap won’t make it go away. And as we mentioned earlier, gaps in resumes aren’t that unusual these days, so it’s more about what your resume shows rather than what it tells. Remember, human resources managers are highly experienced in reviewing resumes, so without proper explanation an employment gap could be the difference between being invited to an interview or not. The best thing to do is include the activities you pursued during your gap year directly on your resume. Don’t simply state them though – read our next tip first!

Be Positive

The purpose of your resume is to sell yourself, so using positive language that highlights all your skills and achievements is essential. Talk about the positive aspects of your employment gap. For example, you could mention any activities or training you undertook to improve your skills during this time (courses, certifications, or independent study etc). Even if you’ve started up your own blog, this demonstrates initiative, tech savviness and good communication skills to your potential employer. Have a think about all the activities you have undertaken – both paid and unpaid – and use creative language. For example, if you are returning to the workforce after caring for your children, you could put “Full-time Parent” on your resume, along with the years of this “position.” Though not traditional employment, being honest, open and positive shows that you are proactive and able to respond to challenges.

Travel Matters

Attitudes to travel or gap years are changing. In fact, travel is now often looked on favourably by employers. If there’s a purpose or intention to your travels that you can articulate, a hiring manager will consider it a positive, character building experience. For example, you could talk about your international travels in the context of it being useful to a business with a global presence. Most importantly, approach your resume gaps with confidence. If you have a clear understanding of your career goals, you can explain how any gaps fit with your objectives.

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