Explaining Gaps in Our Work History

John Krautzel
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When you're searching for a job, unexplained gaps in your work history could make employers wary about hiring you. However, if you can offer a good explanation for the resume gaps, employers may be willing to overlook them. Use these tips to explain gaps in your work history when applying for your dream job.

In general, honesty is the best approach when explaining gaps in your work history. If you lie about employment dates, you are likely to be found out when the recruiter contacts your old employer to verify information. When your lies become apparent, the employer might rescind their job offer or fire you if you have already started working.

Although lying on your resume is a bad idea, you don't have to volunteer information that could hurt your chances of getting hired. For example, if you spent several months out of work, you might find that listing only the years, rather than exact employment dates, for the various positions on your resume may yield more responses from recruiters.

In many cases, it's possible to reframe your resume gaps as positive periods of growth and learning. For example, if you took an IT course during a period when you could not find work, list this information on your resume. Focus on the skills you gained during this period, rather than dwelling on the events that led to your unemployment.

In general, it pays to keep yourself as busy as possible during long periods of unemployment. Along with taking courses to improve your skills and gain qualifications, you should also consider volunteering to enhance your current experience or obtain new experiences. Volunteering is also a great way to get your foot in the door with certain companies and expose yourself to industries in which you have never previously worked, which could open up new employment opportunities for you.

Finally, if you took time out of the workforce to care for a family member or start a family, be honest about your situation. With people living longer and Medicare budgets being squeezed, many people are having to take time off work to care for elderly parents or grandparents. Caring for children has always involved taking time off work, so don't hesitate to reveal this. There is no stigma involved in taking time out of the workforce to fulfill your responsibilities as a caretaker.

Gaps in your work history won't keep you from finding a job. As long as you present any employment gaps in a positive light, employers won't necessarily look down on you because of them. Use the tips to present your work history in a way that maximizes your chance of finding employment, even if you have been out of work for a long time.

Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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