Gaps in Career History

Hello,

Can you give me advice on explaining gaps in my resume? There were two, and lasted about a year each time. I was looking for work.  Should I try to document on my resume or just explain during interview?

Thank you for any help. 

S.A.

Dear S.A.,

When marketing ourselves, we want to avoid being defensive.  Sometimes if we try to explain or make excuses, we come from a position of weakness.  Present the value you offer an employer from a position of confidence and strength. 

It is acceptable to show years only for your dates of employment.  In some cases, that will avoid attention to a gap.  Always show complete dates on a job application.  If asked in the interview, you can explain the gaps.

If you were laid-off or the company closed, you could include a bullet under that job to say, “Assisted department during lay-off and reorganization prior to leaving company.”  It is better to show an achievement as opposed to saying, “Left company due to lay-off.”  If you can be more specific regarding how you assisted, do so.

There are times when one is laid-off or terminated without notice.  If that is the case, do not share that under the position to avoid the possible negative perception.

Another strategy is to include professional development and community involvement sections on your resume.  In these sections you can list training courses and volunteer service accomplished during the gap periods.  Be sure to include the dates. 


If you have a question for Deb, please email [email protected]. The Ask Deb column appears every Friday on our blog at the Careers Done Write website.   

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Gaps in Career History

Hello,

Can you give me advice on explaining gaps in my resume? There were two, and lasted about a year each time. I was looking for work.  Should I try to document on my resume or just explain during interview?

Thank you for any help. 

S.A.

Dear S.A.,

When marketing ourselves, we want to avoid being defensive.  Sometimes if we try to explain or make excuses, we come from a position of weakness.  Present the value you offer an employer from a position of confidence and strength. 

It is acceptable to show years only for your dates of employment.  In some cases, that will avoid attention to a gap.  Always show complete dates on a job application.  If asked in the interview, you can explain the gaps.

If you were laid-off or the company closed, you could include a bullet under that job to say, “Assisted department during lay-off and reorganization prior to leaving company.”  It is better to show an achievement as opposed to saying, “Left company due to lay-off.”  If you can be more specific regarding how you assisted, do so.

There are times when one is laid-off or terminated without notice.  If that is the case, do not share that under the position to avoid the possible negative perception.

Another strategy is to include professional development and community involvement sections on your resume.  In these sections you can list training courses and volunteer service accomplished during the gap periods.  Be sure to include the dates. 


If you have a question for Deb, please email [email protected]. The Ask Deb column appears every Friday on our blog at the Careers Done Write website.   

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