Explaining Gaps in Employment History

There may have been a time when you were unemployed for a large gap of time. These are simply referred to as “gaps in employment.” The problem is that the industry standards of resume writing do not feature a default location wherein you can explain or express the reasoning for your gaps in employment history. Therefore, you will need to find a way to justify these gaps using your cover letter.

It is crucial that you explain these gaps in employment, else a potential employer may consider that you were simply lazy and didn’t want to work for a period of time. Other employers may believe that you have on-going health issues which prevented you from working or that your personal life is so chaotic that you were unable to work. These are general concerns that an employer is likely to imagine if you do not explain to them upfront why you have gaps in your employment history. You can immediately put their thoughts to rest by simply explaining in your resume upfront why they will notice gaps in your employment history.

As previously stated, your cover letter is the perfect place to do this. You can include a paragraph like this, for example:

“You may notice while reviewing my resume that there is a gap in my employment history from January 2008 to March 2008. During that time, I was recovering from an operation to correct my vision. The surgery was successful and I am 100% recovered and am ready to commit myself to employment with your company. There are no future surgeries needed for my vision problems and I will not need time off work for such matters in the future. I wanted to inform you of this up front so that there are no concerns in regards to my brief gap in employment.”

Keep in mind that this is simply a rough example of one way in which you can go about explaining your gaps in employment history. You may additionally want to include a note in the Work Experience section of your resume where the gap is to refer to your cover letter for an explanation for your gap in employment history. This way if the employer skipped over your cover letter before reviewing your resume that they can quickly go back and review it to obtain answers.

Won’t My Gaps In Employment History Make It Harder For Me To Obtain Employment?

This is a legitimate concern and in some cases gaps in employment history may make it harder for you to obtain employment, especially if these gaps are continually appearing in your resume. However, you should never mess with or manipulate employment dates in order to hide your employment gaps. When you do that you are simply setting yourself up for disaster when an employer begins to check your past work history.

Honesty is the best policy when it comes to resume writing. If you are fearful about the gaps in your employment history just be prepared to express reasoning for your gaps otherwise you will be mumbling your way back to the unemployment line.

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