Things happen. Life happens. Resume gaps happen. And, they are more common than you think. It’s up to you to explain your employment gap honestly and positively, so you can still stand out as the best candidate for the job.

Ultimately, you want your resume to tell a great story of how you are the best candidate for the job. However, sometimes our story isn’t exactly perfect; sometimes we have employment gaps on our resume. For some companies, these gaps can raise a red flag. Even though any logical person, including hiring managers, knows that gaps happen, things happen, life happens, but no one likes to see that on a resume. So, how can you address the gaps? Here are a few tips:

Be honest. If you are comfortable including a short statement on your resume to explain the gap, that can work to your advantage. For example: “March 2012 – December 2012 – Served as family caretaker.” Or “March 2012 – December 2012 – Supported an ill family member.

Promote volunteer work. If you haven’t been working, maybe you have been volunteering. These experiences are great to include on a resume – even if you weren’t paid for your time. Definitely include your volunteer work and the skills you acquired by volunteering on your resume to help fill the gaps.

Highlight training and education. If you have been taking any type of training or participating in educational events, I would recommend including them on your resume. It demonstrates that you are keeping up with trends and taking an active role in your career development. Call out any training, including paid and free classes, professional networking events or meetings, online webinars, conferences, etc. These educational experiences do not have to be formal or even paid programs.

Now, if you have a gap that you are really uncomfortable putting in writing, that’s ok. Hiring Managers and recruiters will still consider you for open opportunities as long as you meet the job requirements. You will probably need to address your gap in an interview, but you can prepare for that discussion and focus on keeping your answer concise and professional.

Any other questions for our recruiters? Let us know in the comments!

Jill Kempka

About Jill Kempka

Jill loves to share information about ways to keep up with the changing world of work. She focuses on quick tips, facts and helpful lists to give job seekers tactics and advice they can immediately use.