Do you have gaps on your resume?

November 1, 2015 2 mins read
Do you have gaps on your resume?

Not everyone always had a job. Sometimes it is a headache to explain this to your next potential employer and many people lie about this at an interview which is likely cause more trouble later. Here we would say -- It's important to acknowledge gaps in employment history up front on your resume.

We all understand that having long gaps in your work history sometimes gives employers the wrong impression about your abilities and ambitions. A long unexplained gap in your resume can imply that you’re not capable of landing a job. Worst of all, it can imply that you’re lazy, or that you don’t care about your career. If none of these things are true, you need to take a look at your resume and make sure any gaps are explained.

So how do you explain gaps in your resume?

First keep it positive when talking about this.

Hiring managers might just ask why you didn’t wait to find a new job before quitting your old one, especially because it’s easier to find a new job when you’re already working.

Then explain why.

Say your company or department restructured or downsized somewhere along your career, or your position was moved to other countries and you lost your job. This often occurs during recessions when it’s really difficult to gain new employment. You can explain these gaps to employers by making sure you emphasise why it was that you were let go from your previous job, indicating the restructuring or downsizing that took place.

Emphasise any activities you undertook during the gap to improve your professional standing. You can mention any certifications or courses you’ve done during the gap; any consulting, freelance or contract work or any other valuable experiences, for example volunteering or major personal projects.

And here is the final tip: Be honest.

Like we said above, it’s about what your resume implies as well as what it says explicitly. If you explain gaps in your employment history on your resume or public profile, it shows the hiring manager or recruiter that you see continuity in your career, that you’re focused on the long term, and most of all that you’re still in charge of your career path and able to proactively respond to challenges.

Marlon Mai's picture
Marlon Mai
Managing Director, Greater China
mmai@morganmckinley.com