Explaining Sizable Gaps in your Employment History

Many people find searching for a job particularly challenging due to gaps in their employment history. The cause of the gaps can be the result of a number of reasons including illness, a decision to stay at home to perform parenting roles, or even an unfortunate incarceration. Some explanations for a gap in your employment history may be easier to describe than others. As a rule, your disclosure to a prospective employer should be an honest account of your history. While the gap may be the cause of an embarrassing situation or one you might assume would hinder your chance to land the job, finding creative ways to honestly depict your employment gaps is far more effective than being dishonest to an interviewer.

One way to avoid having to divulge your employment gaps prior to an interview involves the format of your resume. Compose your resume by listing your experiences grouped by category instead of in chronological order. Grouping previous positions allows for the establishment of an expertise in each respective skill category and relieves you of the burden of illuminating gaps in your work history.

Another way to explain employment gaps is by including volunteer work that you have performed during the time you were unemployed. Showing your volunteer work on your resume serves two purposes:  It affords you the opportunity to highlight your work for charity and fills the gaps in your work history. 

After finding ways to make the most of your employment gaps, scan your resume to get a complete picture of the gaps and the time associated with your unemployment. By getting ahead of the question you will be able to recall the occasions when you were unemployed and be able to craft a complete and favorable response to the question during the interview.

At the time of the interview, be sure to accentuate the duties you were able to perform while unemployed. Focus your explanation on what you were able to accomplish during the gap. By filling the work history gaps by detailing productive uses of your time, you soften the notion the interviewer might infer that you are irresponsible or lack the ambition necessary to obtain gainful employment.

At all costs avoid lying to explain gaps in your employment history. Choosing to put a positive spin on your time spent out of work carries much less risk than being dishonest and having to account for fibbing. An employer can and most likely will terminate your employment if your dishonesty is revealed even after you are hired.

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