Explain Time Gaps in your Résumé

Time gaps in a résumé are considered a big issue among employers and a big no-no among résumé experts.  These “unexplained” periods in a chronological accounting of one’s career history give suspicions about one’s productive worth and employability.  If there are years that show you have not been employed, employers rightly or wrongly may conclude you could have slackened off or have been suddenly fired from your job and had difficulty getting employment after.  If this happens once, employers may think it’s a typographical error and simply ask you to explain the gap during your interview. But if it happens more than once, your résumé gets a red flag.

Job applicants should be honest in explaining these time gaps, either in the covering letter or right in the chronological job experience listing.  If you had spent a few years freelancing as an independent management consultant, programmer or web developer, it shouldn’t be a problem indicating the period when you did.  This is still considered productive work and a self-employment situation.

If you had taken time off giving birth and taking care of your first born for a year or have been on a sabbatical family leave to take care of a sick family member, indicate this is your covering letter.  And if you have taken time off to finish your post graduate studies, simply indicate this in your educational background with reference to the time gap.  Although companies often allow employees to have an extended leaves without pay, such explanations for resigning are often taken positively by employers. The important thing is that time gaps in your résumé are adequately explained.

Category: Resume Articles

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