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Explaining Your Resume Gaps

Explaining Your Resume Gaps

Resume gaps are periods of your career where you lacked formal employment. These gaps may be voluntary or involuntary. They might last for several months or years.

Properly addressing resume gaps helps enhance the Professional Experience section of your information. This helps positively shape a hiring manager’s impression of you.

Forming a positive impression encourages the hiring manager to contact you for an interview. This increases your odds of landing the role you desire.

Follow these guidelines to explain your resume gaps and potentially be contacted for an interview.

Omit the Months of Your Employment Dates

If your employment gaps are only a few weeks or months, include only the years you were employed at each job. For instance, say you were employed from October 2016 through March 2018, then began your new job in July 2018. You could list the dates of your first role as 2016-2018 and your second role as 2018-present.

Although this may land you an interview, be prepared to positively discuss the specific dates and explain your resume gaps. Maintaining transparency can help you advance in the interview process.

Minimize Your Resume Gap

Use a functional resume format to make your employment gap less obvious. This format emphasizes your skills and accomplishments rather than your experience.

Include a Career Summary statement and Key Accomplishments section to emphasize the value you provided for previous employers. Then, put your Employment section near the end of your resume. If you are contacted for an interview, you can explain your resume gaps during the discussion.

Share What You Learned During the Gap

Explain what you invested your time doing while you were away from the workforce. Maybe you completed continuing education courses or earned an industry certification. Perhaps you were active in a professional association or spent time performing volunteer work.

Relating the experience you gained during your employment gap to the job you are applying for can help land an interview. Include specific examples of your daily activities and responsibilities that relate to the role. This helps explain your resume gaps in a positive manner.

List the Reason for a Longer Gap

Explain a resume gap of more than one year by including what you did as if it were a job. Keep your information brief to avoid distracting the reader from your more relevant experience.

For instance, perhaps you invested several years as a stay-at-home parent until your child entered school. You could include your experience in the following manner:

Full-time parent, Milwaukee, WI, 2019-2022

Invested time away from professional career to raise a child and manage the household

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