Q. I have a four-year gap on my résumé because I chose to stay at home and raise my young children after spending 15 years as an executive level marketing professional. I am ready to go back to work now and was wondering how to address this on my résumé? With the current unemployment level, I am concerned that this will make me look as though I have been unable to get a job for the past four years, even though that is not the case. – LV, Texas
A. There are several things you can do to mitigate the gap on your résumé. For starters, you can make sure you have outstanding career documents that are high impact, error free, and aesthetically pleasing.
You should definitely go with a hybrid format that pulls your select accomplishments to the top. This will serve to immediately engage the reader and highlight what you have achieved in the past. This format also reduces the focus on specific dates of employment.
The best place to mention the reason for your gap in employment is in your cover letter. You can briefly explain that you chose to take time off to raise your family and now that your children are entering school, you are ready to re-enter the workforce.
As long as your résumé and cover letter contain compelling examples of your past achievements, including specific, quantifiable accomplishments, hiring managers should be able to look past the gap and assess you based on your overall history and expertise.
While it may still be a little more difficult to get a foot in the door at some firms, by positioning yourself effectively, and using those great marketing skills to network and promote yourself, you will start getting interviews despite your career gap.