4 Tips For Dealing With That Gap in Your Resume


Dilemma: a gap in your resume.

Whether it was a sabbatical, parental leave or unemployment, in the job interview you are inevitably confronted with the breaks in your own employment background. So what do you say about it? “Yes I know. Are you envious?” is probably not the best answer. But is this “black hole” in your biography actually an inexcusable faux pas? We will show you 4 tips on how to best deal with it.

But first, let’s be clear on what a resume gap actually is, since there are a lot of ways you can interpret it. As a rule of thumb, let’s go with this: a resume gap is any interruption in your employment that lasts longer than two months and that has no explanation.

Now, while in a perfect world there would never be any mysterious gaps in your resume, sometimes you have to make the best of it. Long story short – have confidence in that gap! It is far important that you openly deal with it, rather than ignore or gloss over it. Because the fact of the matter is that your interviewer(s) will totally notice it and will be waiting for your say on it.

4 Tips to deal with the gap in your resume

# 1 Say it with confidence

Too much fun, too little direction? No matter what it was, don’t present that break in your resume as something negative or as something that was a roadblock in your career path. Gaps are ok, because they’re actually very objective and say rather little about the personality of an applicant. But if you try to sheepishly skip over or breeze through these career kinks when you’re talking about your employment history, rather than address them confidently, your interview is likely to lose confidence in YOU.

Stay positive, self-assured and true to yourself – your potential employer will also appreciate this.

# 2 Be open and honest

“Once a liar always a liar” is how the saying goes, and so if you start lying about one thing on your resume (the gap), who’s to say you won’t start bending the truth on other things? Putting on an attitude of openness and honesty about that gap in your resume will not only make that part of your interview conversation go smoothly, but it’ll also boost your credibility throughout the entire interview as you talk about everything else that makes you a strong candidate.

Key takeaway: Don’t shy away from the truth. Trying to close the gap in your resume “creatively” can really backfire. Whether that means changing the numbers or omitting them altogether, the person looking at your resume will immediately know that you’ve done this deliberately to hide gaps. Just don’t do it. Added bonus: that way you won’t have to worry about any “shame, shame, shame” à la Game of Thrones style.

# 3 Give meaning to the gap, rather than omit it

Silence is golden, isn’t it? Not in this case. Hidden secrets about your professional career, when uncovered, can be even more painful than other types of lies or omissions because it might cost you a job or a reputation.

So instead of leaving the gap out – tip number 3: Fill your gaps with meaningful facts. Show what you’ve gained from this time out of work and what you have learned from it. Maybe you have upgraded your language skills, did some self-study in your field or repaired your friends’ computers and familiarized yourself with the latest computer programs. In other words, bring the details about your work-absence to life in a meaningful way.

# 4 Package it nicely

“January 2017 to May 2017: unemployed”

Sure, even if it is true, this type of wording in your resume isn’t going to do you any good. Find a better way to say the same truth.

For example – “unemployed” can quickly become “job-seeking” or “professional reorientation”. Or, you were not just sick, but a disease has made it clear to you that it is time for a professional change. Sounds much better, right? But make sure you’re not over-doing it. A period of travel is exactly that, no more and no less.


share your voice