Got a Big Ol’ Gap in Your Resume? Read on…

Maybe you went to school. Or, you had a kid. Or you lost your job and couldn’t find a new one… for a long time. Maybe you just needed a break, and knocked off for a while. Whatever the case may be, you have a gap in your employment history. This is a bad thing, right?

Not usually.

How to address a break in your employment on your resume depends a lot on your unique situation. Just know that employment breaks are more common now than ever before, so you’re not alone.  Here are some tips to help you explain your break (well, actually, not):

1. Don’t Call Attention to it. When you format your resume, don’t make your dates huge and bold. Also, for smaller gaps (under a year), consider omitting the month entirely and only list the year(s) you worked at a company.

2). Consider a Functional Resume. Depending on your experience and your industry, a functional resume may be a good alternative to the traditional, chronological resume. A functional resume simply lists your areas of expertise and experience, while keeping your job history very short and at the end.

3). Highlight Your Greatest Accomplishments, Skills and Qualifications. At the top of your resume, include a Qualifications section that highlights your most marketable skills, as well as any personality traits that make you stand out from the crowd. Fill this area with keywords that will catch the eye of your audience.

And perhaps most importantly…

4). Include any professional experience you’ve done during your “break”. Think about how you spent your time between day-jobs. Did you volunteer for an organization? Include this just as you would a paid gig: include the position, company, and time worked as well as a description of your duties. Also, include any freelance projects (however small), or classes you took (in the education/professional development section).

5). Don’t lie. No matter what, do not lie on your resume and keep embellishments to a bare minimum. Employers can fact-check your resume and you could wind up in hot water if you get caught. It’s always better to be honest, and you’ll have a resume you’re truly proud of.

As always, good luck out there!


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