How to Deal with Gaps in Your Resume


If you have a large gap in your work history, you may be worried that you’ll have an even harder time finding work in today’s tough economy.

That needn’t be the case. Here are some tips to help you handle questions about “holes” in your employment history:

If you’ve just found yourself “between jobs,” as you search for new employment, consider taking on freelance or consulting work. If that’s not possible, offer to volunteer in more of a managerial role with our favorite charity. The freelancing and/or volunteering sting are perfectly legitimate to place on your resume.

If it turns out there’s nothing you can do to fill the “gap” in your resume, as you write it, opt for a “functional” resume rather the typical “chronological” resume, the one that lists your jobs/duties/accomplishments in the order of when you had the jobs (most recent position first). Use caution, however: some recruiters look at functional resumes as red flags: “this applicant has something he doesn’t want to tell me!”

A functional resume details the your background, skills and accomplishments you’ve accomplished over the length of your career. The focus is on what you’ve accomplished for former employers, it’s not just a “list” of your previous jobs. A chronological list of your previous jobs goes at the end of a functional resume.

If there truly is a big fat hole in your work history, you may want to bring this up right away in your cover letter. Write a short one- or two-sentence explanation of the reason for the gap (you left work to take care of a sick relative, to raise children, you couldn’t find a job after being laid off for two years, etc.) Don’t go into too much detail and definitely don’t whine about how long it’s taking you to find a job. Instead, state the facts, and then immediately segue into how your skills and background are a good fit for the open position.

If you’re interviewing and the gap in your job history comes up, once again, briefly state the reason you gave in your cover letter. Then change the subject — ask the interviewer for more information about the job duties, what kind of person they’re looking for etc. And then detail how your backgrounds and skills can help the employer. Take the focus off your gap and on to what you bring to the table

If you’re worried that a large gap in your job history is hindering your search for work, let RealStreet Staffing help you find a great job. We can place you on exciting assignments at businesses throughout the Washington Metro area. In fact, many of our assignments are temp-to-hire or even direct placement! Contact us today.

The RealStreet folks are always helpful. They were instrumental in landing me a rewarding FEMA assignment in Southern California.

KC Green

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