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How to Explain a Gap in Your Resume

Author:- Dr. Manoranjan P.Ram
Nov 13, 2018

Taking time off work is not something uncommon — many of us do that. The reasons can be many — maybe you were raising a child, travelling, taking care of a sick relative, or went back to school. In the worst case-scenario, it may occur because you were laid off. When a candidate is applying for a job, an unexplained gap in their employment history sometimes proves to be an obstruction. We hereby tell you how you cannot let that gap be a deterrent in your career ambitions.

Place Trust in Your Future Employer

Companies may restructure and downsize somewhere along your career, or sometimes your work responsibilities are outsourced to other countries and you lose your job. Such situations are common during times of recession when it’s really difficult to gain new employment. You can explain these gaps convincingly by placing trust in your prospective employers, who are especially considerate in these matters.

Avoid Cribbing About Past Employment

Simply ranting about your negative experience from your previous job isn’t going to help, for hiring managers are very intuitive in these matters. They may view you as an insubordinate employee who shirks responsibilities, especially since you quit before having a new job at hand.

Be Convincing If You Voluntarily Opted for a Sabbatical

It is perfectly acceptable to mention sabbaticals: the year you took off to travel the world or to take care of a family situation. If there’s a purpose and it is well-defined, it’s much more acceptable to hiring managers than a generic gap that just makes it look like you didn’t utilize your time to pursue anything productive in the interim.

Highlight the Experience Gained During the Gap

It is important to explain what you involved yourself in when you weren’t employed. Did you freelance or consult? How about volunteering? All those experiences can be included on your resume, and they can underline some strength that the employer is seeking in candidates, even when you were not “officially” in a 9-to-5 job.

Do Your Homework Well

Don’t lose track of what’s going on in your given industry, even if you had been out of the game for a while. Keep yourself updated with the recent developments in the domain you have applied in. This creates a solid impression on the interviewer that even though you were away, you’d be quick to get back in the groove.

Final Advice

There’s no need to be apologetic about your work history. Taking time off is nothing to be ashamed of. Still, your decision to take a gap should be well articulated when you start applying for jobs later. You need to stand by your decisions and choices, present your skills with a straightforward resume format, and be ready to face questions about it. So be as honest as possible, and give your absolute best. It is only but a minor roadblock, and your confidence, professionalism and skills are enough to more than make up for it.

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