How to Address an Employment Gap
Most people looking for employment have a gap in their employment history at some point for some reason. When you are ready to get back into the workforce and begin submitting your resume to potential employers, it’s hard not to be a little worried about how the time gap might look on your resume. As we know, the pandemic has disrupted many people’s lives and this may show up as an employment gap on a resume. Likewise, you may have taken time out of the workforce while being a caregiver, relocating, upgrading your education, or for a medical or health issue.
Here are some helpful hints on how to proceed in your job search efforts despite having time gaps in your employment history:
- An employment gap that requires explanation is six months or more – try not to be too concerned over a few months as most employers will not see this as a “red flag” if the majority of your work history is consistent.
- It’s your option to list the gap with related activity on your resume – For example: 2015 – 2016 Fulltime Caregiving for family member There is no need to mention if this was caring for your mother, child, spouse etc as this information is personal). This demonstrates to a potential employer you are being straightforward about your circumstance and not simply trying to hide behind dates. It is really important not to use false dates to hide a gap in employment.
- Discuss the gap in your cover letter – be honest about the time away from the workforce while remaining focused on how motivated you are to be applying for this position and how your skills align with the role,
- Be prepared to speak to the gap during the interview – think about how you would like to answer an employer’s questions about a period of unemployment should they ask. Many employers are not as concerned about an employment gap, especially those since March 2020. Focus on any courses or skills you might have been updating, if you were volunteering or caregiving. Make an effort to steer the conversation in the direction that you are now actively engaged in attaining employment.
Employment gaps in your resume don’t have to hold you back from securing future employment when you address them clearly and honestly during the application and interview process. The most important way to minimize any potential focus on an employment gap is to emphasis the skills you have and highlight your qualities which suit the position and the organization.