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Overcoming Employment Gaps in Your Resume

overcoming employment gaps in your resume

Overcoming employment gaps in your resume is something almost all job seekers have to combat. Many people take time off from their job at one time or another. Sometimes, the employment gap is by choice, but other times, it is out of our control.

It might be due to a layoff, downsizing, or a longer than expected job search. What is the most efficient way to explain the employment gaps in your resume? The answer depends on what you did after leaving your job.

For you to overcome employment gaps in your resume, you need to take attention away from them without appearing to be lying or actively covering them up in your resume. Overcoming holes or obstacles in your employment can also be addressed in the cover letter. 

The first thing to do lies with how you list the dates your resume; you are not obliged to list month after month or year after year if you held the same position for more than a year.

Instead of putting in your employment record the month and the year like January 20011 – October 2015, you can just put 2011 – 2015 which may help to disguise employment gaps. It will look like this:

Grade 2 Teacher, 2011 – 2015

Grade 4 Teacher, 2002-2011

This format will not show specific start and end dates so you can’t tell how many months you were unemployed between positions.

The person reviewing your resume will not know if you transitioned immediately from your role as a Grade 4 teacher to a Grade 2 teacher, or if you left your role as a Grade 4 teacher in May 2015 and didn’t find the new position until December 2015.  This method only works if you are unemployed for less than a year, though.

Double check the format you choose for your resume. The truth is you can format your resume in a way that can help reduce or curtail the gaps in your employment background. Accomplish this by avoiding bold format on the dates; a smaller font helps de-emphasize dates.

A skills-based resume is another way to take emphasis away from the timeline of your career accomplishments and place it on the accomplishments themselves. Rather than listing each job with your achievements in chronological order, you can group your achievements and briefly list positions you held later in the resume.

Don’t include all your work experiences on your resume if you have been working for many years. It is highly acceptable to omit a job or two that may not be related to your job target, or you can limit your work history to the last fifteen years, for instance.

Include the work experiences you gained during the years or months that you were not officially working. If you include volunteer experiences, freelance or contract work, and other experiences that contribute to your professional development, you can include those in your resume to help fill in the gaps in your formal employment.

Finally, it’s crucial, to tell the truth concerning your situation, and schools will often be considerate in understanding your situation if you provide an accurate, concise explanation of any gaps in your resume. Gaps in one’s career development are not unusual.

Having a game plan to explain your experience, give your interviewers context, and demonstrate you used your time away from more formal employment to grow as a person and as a professional. How you explain, your employment gap is where your power is, demonstrating your time away has contributed to your strengths rather than detracting from them.

Do you have a gap in your employment? Would you like to make sure your resume tells your story in such a way that employers will want to know more? Check out the resume writing services.  We can help you put your best foot forward.