|» Gaps in your employment
history? No problem!
It's very common today for employees
to take time off between jobs. This can happen for a number
reasons such as raising a family, taking care of a family
member who is ill, not being able to find the “ideal” job,
recovering from an illness, traveling, or simply taking
a break after graduating from college.
If there are gaps
in your work history, for whatever reason, there are essentially
two ways you can deal with them.
1. Firstly, you can
draw the reader’s attention
to them by presenting your reasons in the most positive
way you can. For example, Career Break - state this and
show the relevant positive experiences that you gained
during your time off.
2. Alternatively, you can change the format of your resume
from the more traditional chronological style to the functional
resume. The functional resume focuses more on your skills
in different areas rather then a timeline of your employment
history. Also, it allows the opportunity for you to include
any experience you gained while you were out of the workforce
under a separate heading such as “Additional Experience”.
For example, let's say you’ve been out of the workforce
for several years and are now looking for a job. Your resume
should start out with a brief "Summary of
is a paragraph containing an overview of skills and areas
Under the next section entitled "Areas of Strength" either lists
key words appropriate to your professional experience or break it down into
several distinct areas of experience with bulleted items. Maybe your "Areas
of Strength" include Sales and Marketing or Teaching and Office Administration.
You can make each one a separate category and list three or four items under
each heading to indicate your experience and skills in each area.
The next section, "Professional Experience" lists
related jobs, titles, and responsibilities. But do not
omit the dates! By leaving out dates of employment on a
resume, you will raise more questions.
And finally under the section Additional Experience,
you can put any skills learned while you were on your
break - include any classes or technical training or
part-time or volunteer work while you were recovering
from a car accident or caring for an elderly parent.
This draws attention away from the gap itself and attracts
more attention to your experience and capabilities.
If you took time off to raise a family, for example,
you used various skills, such as managing a budget and
time management, that would be excellent skills to be
used in your new job. If you took time off to travel,
pull pieces of information from your traveling experience
that would be valuable skills in your next job.
when visiting foreign lands, you may pick up on some
basic foreign language skills or learn about the
culture, traditions, and customs. This would prove to be
a valuable asset to companies that engage in international
business. And if nothing else, it may show that you are
a well-rounded person.
You should think of filling gaps in your employment history
creatively by thinking of useful tasks done during this
period. Sometimes you might not be paid but might have
received experience relevant to your job. Community projects,
special projects, freelance consulting engagements, continuing
education etc., could all be used in the experience section
in place of paid employment.
Whichever way you choose, it's important to emphasize
that you should acknowledge that these gaps exist and
be prepared to address them in your resume and at the
interview. Potential employers view any such gaps as
a red flag.