curriculum vitae, resume, and job application form

A Step-by-Step Guide to Explaining Big Gaps on Your Resume

curriculum vitae, resume, and job application formNot all job seekers have perfect personal details to flaunt on their resumes. Some have huge employment gaps that take a great deal of excuses to fill in.

Though typical, explaining long career gaps in resumes is not easy for many job aspirants. They think listing a dented work history is similar to sporting their blemishes in public. They see it as a huge flaw that can reduce their chances of nailing the job.

Sickness, rehabilitation, religious sabbaticals, unemployment, long vacation, and family projects are just some of the many reasons why many people have big gaps in their work history. If you got any of them, don’t worry. An “imperfect” resume will not hinder your job-hunting success. There’s a way to explain and make these gaps look good on your resume.

Do you have any employment gaps in your career? Heed these resume writing tips below.

  • Choose the right format.

Use a functional resume to highlight your strengths, skills, and experiences. Though this layout will not fully conceal your long career gap, this will help pull the hiring managers’ attention away from your flaws and draw them toward your strong points.

  • Be honest.

Write factual info. Don’t be afraid that hiring managers will see the wide gap in between your previous jobs. This won’t always puzzle their minds or run their imaginations wild. Chances are good that you will get an opportunity to get an interview and justify these gaps with them anyway.

  • Limit your details.

A resume is neither a diary nor a blog. Hence, never overshare and use your resume to tell the whole story about your employment gaps.

  • Be creative.

Instead of narrating what you did during the gaps, you might want to consider these things:

– Write only years (not months) when listing employment dates.
– Do not narrate, but explain the gap with a few words (e.g., 2009-2011, Travel: South America and the Caribbean or 2013-2014, Home care provider for terminally ill parent)
– Use “creative” job titles, especially when citing activities that are not relevant to the target job (e.g., independent study, personal travel, full-time student, estate management, and full-time parent).
– Label the section as “Work History” instead of “Professional Experience.”

Follow these tips and you will sure boost your chance for a job. If you can’t make your personal marketing tool, look for a resume sample or seek professional writing service. Resume Valley can help you.

Source: Image courtesy of phasinphoto at

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