A person may take some time off from work for multiple reasons. While sometimes such decisions are taken by choice, other times such situations occur unexpectedly. Childbirth, sudden death in the family, traveling are few of the main reasons for job discontinuation.
While your reasons can be absolutely justified, it becomes an issue to write about the same in the resume. One may face some stiff questions when they try to get back to work after a break in the career.
But when there is a will, there is always a way. Below are some of the best ways to explain the gap in the work in your resume.
Use Dates To Cover up the Gap:
While listing the dates on your resume, it is not important to mention the exact number of years, if you have worked in a position over a period of one year or so. At the end of the day, the hiring company will be hiring you for the skill set that you bring to work and not for the years of experience that you have. So if you do have a small gap in your career, this is one of the best ways to make up for it.
However, many a time, a job interview involves quite a detailed procedure. You may be asked about the time span you have spent in your previous place of employment. So keep your answers quick and right under your sleeves.
Use A Different Resume Format:
Format your resume in such a way that your employment gap is well shielded and almost invisible. Simple tweaking can be employed for this purpose. For example, you can write the dates in fonts smaller than the one used for the rest of the resume. Avoid highlighting the dates.
Generally, our attention goes towards texts which are either made bold or underlined. To hide the career gap in your resume, use such small alterations. If you don’t want to go through all these hassles, try using resume design templates provided by various free resume maker tools. Here all the formatting is already done for you, all that you have to do is to add your details.
Another way to hide the gap in your career is by starting the resume with a summary statement or a career highlight section. Such a format underlines your key skills and takes the attention off from dates and time.
Don’t Disclose A Job or Two on the Resume:
Though it is commonly believed that a resume must be ornamented, pinned with all the experience you have bagged so far, this is not necessary at all times. You can easily choose not to mention one or two jobs, especially if you have been working in that industry for a long time.
If you are seeking a managerial post, a fifteen-year experience is all that you need to get. Ten years of experience is enough if you wish to apply for a senior position.
Highlight The Other Experiences You Might Have Gained During The Gap Period:
One very clever way of hiding the career gap in your resume is by not making it look like a gap at all! Format your resume in such a way that the career gap looks like an experience in itself. Mention what all you did when you weren’t employed. Did you freelance? Did you consult? Were you taking part in voluntary activities? All of these experiences are also important and thus must be mentioned in your resume. List them in the same manner as you have done with the other jobs. Include job titles, the name of the company you have worked for, the type of job you did and the dates. If you went back to education, taking up new courses and classes, list them under the education section of your resume.
Explain The Gap In your Career Briefly Through The Cover Letter:
As mentioned earlier, there can be multiple reasons to opt for a career gap. However, all the reasons may not fit your resume. Reasons such as childbirth, taking care of aging parents are difficult to explain in your resume. Under such circumstance, make use of the cover letter to explain your career gap briefly.
Explain The Career Gap During The Face-to Face-Interview:
No matter which approach you choose, explaining a career gap in your resume can always be tricky. In that light, address the issue in an open and clear manner during the face-to-face interview. Explain the reasons for taking a break in a clear and rational manner if the break was voluntary. If you had taken time off to take care of a family issue, such as childbirth and taking care of sick family members, mention that the issue has been resolved and that you are now ready to get back to complete time employment.
However, if you took a break due to workforce contraction, it will be imperative for you to provide strong documented proof to explain the reasons for the downsizing. Additionally, ensure that your superiors, colleagues, and clients are ready to confirm your competence at all times. Make sure that all your social media handles, especially Linkedin, highlight such points. However, it will be difficult to establish all this if a person is thrown away from an organization due to performance issues.
Highlight Your Positive Attributes:
Taking a break in your career is not a crime. So do not be ashamed or scared if you have taken such a gap. Many others do it and return to their career seamlessly. Wear your confidence right during your interview and focus on the things you have achieved during your break period.
If you were busy in some voluntary work, talk about the things it has taught you, tell about the new course you might have been studying during your break. At the end of the day, the company will be looking at the skill set that you bring to the table and not the exact number of years you have spent in gathering this experience.
As long as you are good at what you do and can improve as you move along, the gap in your career will not become an issue. The hiring organization looks into a lot more than just the resume. Of course, it is important, but, more than that, a company wants to hire an employee with integrity, courage, confidence, and skills. Be that employee.
Last modified: January 22, 2019