Dealing with Gaps in your Resumé

For one reason or another, you may find yourself with a difficult-to-explain gap in employment on your resumé. Maybe you took time off for school, had a family or personal emergency that required your attention, have been struggling to find work for a while, or maybe you even had a windfall that allowed you to take an extended break from working.

Even if the reason is completely innocuous, recruiters may see it as a red flag. There are a few things you can do to help alleviate these concerns for the recruiter and make it easier on yourself when it comes to finding the right job.

Keep your Finger on the Pulse.

You don't have to be employed in order to stay up to date with changing technologies. In the information age, there's plenty of resources out there to maintain and improve your skills. For example, if you are a programmer, it's extremely helpful if you can demonstrate that you haven't "lost a step" since your last job. If you are a salesperson, try to learn a bit about the bleeding-edge products of your industry are. This will save you time and support your case for employment when it comes time for interviews.

Show Employment Duration, not Date Ranges.

Replace "Jan. 2013 - May. 2015" on your resume with "2 years, 4 mos." You're still telling the truth, and it draws less attention to the gaps you have. If asked, you should be honest, but at least this will likely help you avoid raising the red flag in the initial screenings.

Be Honest; Explain What You've Learned from the Experience.

Show the recruiter that you understand that these kinds of gaps can be troubling, but that you've grown from the experience and have worked hard to maintain and improve your skills. What really catches recruiters' attention are people who demonstrate that their motivations for working in the respective industry is more than just to have a salary and something to do all day. Recruiters like people who have enthusiasm for the work because the work itself is rewarding, not just the salary and benefits.