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How to Explain Gaps in Employment

Hiring managers and recruiters tend to frown upon gaps in employment, wondering what you were doing during that time. It doesn’t mean they won’t hire you if you had months or years with no steady employment, but you do want to explain them on your resume and during your interview. Here are some ways to explain and make up for the gaps.

List Years Only

Consider listing only the years where you worked somewhere, if you are simply trying to cover a gap of only a few months. Your resume doesn’t always need to include the month. Instead of saying you worked from January 2010 to March 2012, you can simply say you worked there from 2010 to 2012. During your interview, you will get the opportunity to explain this further.

Use a Different Format

There are also other ways to change the format of your resume that doesn’t focus so much on the dates. If you feel like you need the months to be included on the resume, you can try using a smaller or different fonts for the date section, where it doesn’t stand out quite so much. This helps you get considered more easily.

Remove Older Experience

Just because you have gaps in your employment history, doesn’t mean they need to be included. If the gap is from an older job that isn’t relevant and you have plenty of experience after that, consider removing the older positions from your resume. You don’t always need to include every single job you have had, especially if they don’t relate to the job you are currently applying for.

Cover the Gaps

Instead of simply leaving the gap completely blank, describe what you worked on during that time. Perhaps you were volunteering, freelancing or working on a college degree through full time classes. Whatever it is, feel free to explain it and why it has helped you further your career. You don’t need to be too detailed and take the focus away from the other information in the cover letter.

Explain the Gaps

There are several ways to explain the gaps in employment. If you are applying for a job online with a cover letter, you can take a brief moment to explain these gaps on the cover letter. Just use this time to explain what you were working on during that length of time. In the interview, they will most likely ask you about it. If you were looking for a job at the time, be honest and say you were actively looking and nothing was available. Then go on to explain how you spent your time, such as taking classes to improve your professional skills, volunteering at a nearby school or working on your networking.

Gaps in employment happen to just about everybody, so the hiring manager isn’t completely opposed to them. However, to be considered before an interview, make sure your resume shows some kind of explanation.


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