Many people take some time away from their careers, whether it’s for continuing education, health reasons or because one job didn’t work out and the next one didn’t start right away.
Regardless of the reason, you must have an explanation for any gaps in your work history to ease concerns about your ability to hold down a job and work hard (since it takes hard work to land a job).
Here are a few ways you can address gaps in your resume when you apply to the next job opportunity.
Don’t mention it
If a gap in your work history happened 15 years ago, it probably doesn’t even bear mentioning. Actually, you don’t even have to include every job you ever held on your resume, particularly if you have many years of experience in your field. You can restrict your work history to around 15 years when looking for a managerial position and 10 years when seeking other positions.
Omit months for small gaps
If your employment gap only lasted a short time, only list the years worked for each employer.
Of course, this approach has its issues. First, it’s a bit of a dubious omission, and an employer might ask you if intentionally left off the months to hide something. If you come clean about the employment gap, it won’t put you in the best light. If you don’t come clean and the gap is somehow exposed, you’re sunk.
Therefore, it’s best to use this approach if you have a long work history – one that spans several decades. Your work history should be so long that keeping track of the start and end months seems unnecessary.
Emphasize accomplishments, not times
You can also format your resume to minimize the importance of gaps in your work history. One way to do that is to feature a Career Summary section and an Accomplishments section at the top of the document.
After using these sections to highlight what you have achieved, you can then include an Employment History section where the dates are listed.
Include experience gained during gap
If you were out of work for longer than three months and you don’t have more than 20 years of experience under your belt, the best policy is just to come clean and confront the gap. However, that doesn’t mean throwing up your hands and saying, “My work history is what it is.”
Be sure to list any experience you might have gained during your time out of the workforce. These should be experiences or achievements that can translate into job skills. For instance, if you left to start a family, you could mention you managed medical bills, developed child care techniques, coordinated schedules or researched daycare options.
As a top staffing agency in Tulsa, OK, we regularly help professionals who have put their careers on hold. If you are currently looking to reenter the workforce after an extended break, please contact us today.