You spent hours putting together an incredible resume. You have plenty of relevant experience for the job, and your references are impeccable. What is the only thing holding you back from sending off your resume to all the top companies in your field? That year you took off to spend hiking around the Everglades SEEMED like a good idea at the time—but now leaves an enormous gap in your employment that might be hard to explain to those top-notch employers. Being prepared is key. Here are three proven ways to explain gaps in your resume.
- Beat them to the punch – Do not wait for the interviewer to ask about the gap in your employment history, come out and say it. Consider adding a section about your gap to the cover letter. If nothing else, be prepared for the discussion at a potential interview and have a carefully worded answer ready. Not having a reason for the gap will leave it to the interviewer’s imagination, but if you explain it, you have a chance to tell your side of things.
- Make it a positive – Not every gap in employment happens for negative reasons. Think about the things you did during that period that were GOOD for you as a person. Talk about any classes you took, freelance work you picked up or exited places you traveled. Sharing this information with your employer proves that you can make the best out of any situation and that you are highly focused on improving yourself with every experience.
- Be Honest – While a resume gap is not necessarily a reason to pass over a potential employee, a dishonest resume is. If you were laid off, do not try to cover it up. If the interviewer asks, tell them. Being honest about what happened, and how you made the best of the situation, gives the employer a better sense of you as a person.
Don’t fret about a gap on your resume. While you may not get the first job you apply for, most people do not. Putting the right spin on the time you took off means that one day the right employer will see how this time off actually helped make you into who you are today. He or she will see that you are a remarkable candidate who is PERFECT for the job!