5 Tips for Filling in Employment Gap on Your Resume
If you left the workforce to care for a child, were laid off or downsized, or took time to travel, it's good to be upfront about your reason for leaving. But remember: when you do include an explanation in your cover letter or resume, don't offer up more detail than necessary. You want to keep the focus on why you're a great fit for this role.
To ensure that your employment gaps won't hold you back from landing an interview, follow these five helpful tips:
1. Be Honest, But Don't Include Too Much Information
Be honest. Don't embellish or try to hide the gaps in your work history, but don't go into excessive detail either. If you were laid off, say so; if a company closed due to bankruptcy or other reasons not related to your performance, do not make up an excuse that might cast doubt on your abilities.
Do not include negative information about your employer or colleagues unless it is directly relevant to the position being applied for (for example, if you worked at a charity for children where one of its directors was accused of embezzling funds).
Do not include private details about yourself that don't relate directly back to why you left previous positions (such as whether or not you have kids).
Don't share political views that could cause conflict with potential employers. It's important always keep in mind that what may seem like common sense from one perspective may appear as radical viewpoints from another--even when everyone involved stands firmly behind their own beliefs!
2. Be Upfront About Your Employment Gaps
Be honest. There's no need to lie about your employment gaps. It'll just make you look like a bad employee, especially if the truth comes out later on.
Explain why you were out of work. If you were laid off or fired for good reason, don't be ashamed of it! You're better off being honest than trying to hide it under the rug.
Explain how you kept your skills sharp while unemployed as well as how they've stayed relevant since then (if they have). Did you work on side projects outside of work? Did you volunteer at a charity or non-profit? Did you start your own business? Whatever it is that kept those brain cells active, be sure to include them in your resume AND explain what those experiences do for your candidacy today (i.e., "In my spare time I started my own graphic design business...") This makes employers more willing to hire someone who has been unemployed recently because they know their potential employee won't waste time during working hours with other tasks unless necessary!
3. Demonstrate Your Skills and Qualifications in Other Ways
Demonstrate your skills and qualifications in other ways. In addition to your years of experience, it’s a good idea to demonstrate that you have some of the skills and qualifications that hiring managers are looking for by highlighting them on your resume.
Focus on what you learned during your employment gap. While there may not be much work experience during a long absence from the workplace, it doesn’t mean that this period was wasted time. You might have learned valuable skills through volunteer work or self-improvement activities such as taking classes or reading books on relevant topics. These experiences can help demonstrate that you are eager to learn new things, even if they aren’t directly related to the job at hand.
4. Focus on What You Learned During Your Employment Gap
If you are wondering how to fill in employment gap on your resume, focus on what you learned during your time off.
Explain how you used your time to learn new skills.
Explain how you used your time to volunteer or pursue other passions.
Explain how you used your time to travel the world or see family members who live far away.
Explain how you started a business (or another type of project) that helps others and provides an income stream for yourself as well as demonstrates leadership, creativity and innovation skills that are essential for many employers today, especially start-ups and tech companies.
5. Update Your Resume With Additional Training or Education
Update Your Resume With Additional Training or Education
If you have additional training or education that is relevant to the position, and can be clearly articulated in a way that shows your growth and development from your previous experiences, it’s worth adding. This will show the employer that you are willing to learn more about their field of expertise, and are ready to contribute from day one. It also shows them that you have taken a proactive approach in preparing for this job interview.
Add Relevant Volunteer Experience
Volunteer experience is something all employers look for on resumes—and for good reason! Volunteering shows an interest in giving back to the community, which is one of the key traits employers are looking for when hiring new employees. If there’s any chance at all of getting involved with a nonprofit organization while unemployed (or even before being unemployed), do it! Even if it’s just once-a-week on Saturdays at an animal shelter doing laundry or cleaning kennels, volunteering is a great way not only expand upon your resume but add some meaning into your life as well.
There may be a few gaps on your resume, but it doesn’t have to hurt you when you look for jobs. You can use these tips to make sure your qualifications shine through and highlight the skills that will help you succeed in your next role. Remember to be honest about what you did during an employment gap, and don’t include too much information that may not be relevant.
We hope these tips will help!
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