Job Search Advice on Avoiding Resume Gaps

December 24, 2011

Job Hunt, Résumé

With the nation’s unemployment rate as high as it is, it’s not unusual for job seekers to have employment gaps on their resumes. The best job search advice on how to best handle these gaps? Be honest.

Don’t be tempted to lie about your past work experience as a way to cover up gaps in your resume. The odds are good that potential employers will uncover your attempts to hide employment gaps. And when they do, you can bet that you won’t top their list of potential hires.

Employment Gaps Far from Rare

Instead, be prepared to honestly explain your employment gaps should you land an interview. You may have legitimate reasons for taking time off. Maybe you left the career world for three years to spend time with your young children. Maybe you returned to college full-time to earn a new degree. Don’t try to hide these breaks in your resume. Maybe the rough job market meant that you simply weren’t able to land a position during your employment gap.

Trying to sneak these employment gaps past hiring managers will not work. Hiring managers have seen plenty of resumes during these tough economic times so they know an employment gap when they see one.

Job Search Advice and Employment Gaps

Explaining Work Gaps

Instead, be sure to tell potential employers exactly what you were doing during these breaks to boost your work skills. For instance, maybe you worked as a freelance consultant during the years in which you left a 9-to-5 job to raise your children. Mention this to potential employers and explain to them exactly what projects you took on for consulting clients.

Maybe during your long search for a new job you volunteered with an organization in your field. Explain this to employers. Maybe you used your time off to attend adult education classes and pick up new technology skills. Again, this is a fact that you should share during your job interview.

De-emphasize Employment Gaps

Just because you can’t hide employment gaps on your resumes doesn’t mean you can’t make them less noticeable. For instance, if you worked at a company until January of 2010 and then didn’t find a new job until December of that same year, it’s not wrong to state on your resume that you worked at job A until 2010 and landed work at company B in the same year. Just eliminate the specific months on your resume.

But the best job search advice of all? Don’t let an employment gap on your resume scare you away from applying for those jobs with which you know you are qualified. You’re far from alone in having holes on your resume. With the economy still staggering, employment gaps are something to which hiring managers are steadily becoming immune.

If you need job search advice regarding creating the best possible resume, consider signing up for our Get Hired Boot Camp. Our job experts can help you create a resume from scratch or polish one that that needs that extra touch.

, , ,