4 Tips on Explaining Resume Gaps

Resume GapsA resume gap, which indicates a period of time when you weren’t working, is not uncommon nowadays. The problem is: How will you explain yourself if the interviewer asks about it? You can use the following tips to help you address that issue.


1. Honesty is the best policy. Don’t lie about the reason why you have gaps on your resume. When your interviewer asks about it, keep your answer truthful, short, and simple. Good interviewers are trained to look for gaps in a resume and know when you’re lying. They want to know the real reasons you vacated the job positions written on that paper.

The interviewer wants to make sure that you didn’t leave your previous jobs because of personality issues, poor performance, or work-related ethical issues. There are a number of valid reasons to have resume gaps. It can be voluntary or not, but whatever the reason is, you should be prepared to present it briefly yet positively.

Remember that the interviewer is always looking for signs of unprofessionalism, lack of motivation, and other issues related to performance tasks. You should be ready to give a reasonable explanation at all times.

Refrain from blaming your previous employers, even if they really gave you a hard time. Try not to talk about it too much; instead, come up with an answer that is short and simple.

2.. Discuss with your interviewer the things that you’ve been doing in between to keep yourself informed and updated. Tell him or her about the things that kept you busy while you weren’t working. Volunteer work, freelance projects, pursuing graduate school, and taking continuing education courses are great examples. If none of these apply to you, it is advisable to start doing those things now. You need to have something that you can talk about in your interview.

If your resume gaps are the result of dealing with parental roles or your own health issues, you need to be specific in your explanation of why you are still the best candidate (even if the resume gaps cover a year or more).

Long breaks are significant issues to employers. Your challenge is to show them how much you have kept yourself aware of developments in the industry even if you are at rest. Show how much you are ready to get back on track.

Don’t forget to point out and highlight any valuable skills that you learned during your gap months, but make sure that these skills are relevant to the job.

3. Format your resume by getting rid of the dates that could draw the interviewer’s attention to the gaps. Instead of writing the month and the year of your employment, try writing only the year. For example, if you worked for Company A from June 2009 to January 2011, and company B from August 2011 to February 2013, you can write: Company A (2009 – 2011); Company B (2011 – 2013).

Your interviewer might still ask you about why you left the previous company, but you don’t need to bring up the gap (the months between the jobs) if he or she isn’t asking about it.

4. Maintain a positive, confident, and trustworthy attitude about your employment history. Don’t play around with your explanations for having gaps in your resume. Prepare your gap-related answers before the interview, and don’t forget to speak confidently.

Follow these tips and discover how you can still land the job you want. Resume gaps shouldn’t be a hindrance to your career goals. You can still get the job just by being honest, prepared, and confident.

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Alan Carniol

Alan is the creator of Interview Success Formula, a training program that has helped more than 80,000 job seekers to ace their interviews and land the jobs they deserve. Interviewers love asking curveball questions to weed out job seekers. But the truth is, most of these questions are asking about a few key areas. Learn more about how to outsmart tough interviewers by watching this video.