How to Address Employment Gaps on Your Resume Effectively

Attius Li- Author
Atticus Li
Finding a job
October 1, 2023
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Are you concerned about how to explain employment gaps on resume? Considering that recruiters often scrutinize resumes for any inconsistencies, this can be a legitimate worry.

This article is here to guide you through effectively addressing these gaps without hurting your chances of landing the job.

Stay tuned as we share expert tips and tricks that will transform your “gap problem” into an opportunity!

Key Takeaways

  • Understand that employment gaps are common and can happen for various reasons, such as personal choice, caregiving responsibilities, or circumstances beyond your control.
  • Prepare to return to work during unemployment by upgrading your skills through online courses or gaining new certifications. Stay informed about job market trends to demonstrate proactivity and readiness.
  • Determine which jobs to include on your resume by selecting those that match the job you want and highlighting the relevant skills and tasks from those positions. Always tell the truth about your work history and be ready to talk about what you did during any gaps.
  • Disguise small gaps by omitting the month in your work dates on your resume. Use a resume style or format that downplays employment gaps, such as a functional resume format or including a career summary statement at the beginning of your resume.
  • Demonstrate continuous learning during longer employment gaps by listing the reason for the gap as its own job on your resume. Highlight any relevant experience gained during this time to showcase growth and development.
  • Address different types of employment gaps like parental leave, layoffs/termination, pandemic — related unemployment, or medical reasons by explaining them honestly but positively on your resume. Include any relevant experience gained during these periods.
  • Fill current gaps on your resume by venturing out on your own with personal projects or entrepreneurial endeavors that highlight your skills. Expand your network through networking events and professional organizations to increase job opportunities.

Understanding Employment Gaps on Resumes

Job hunters may find gaps in their work history. These gaps are times when you did not have a job. You can see them on your resume in the employment history part. Gaps can be short, only a few months, or long, lasting several years.

They can happen for many reasons.

Sometimes these breaks happen because of things we choose to do. This could be going to school, taking care of a loved one, or resting after working hard for a long time. Other times they come from things we cannot control like getting let go from our jobs or being sick and unable to work.

Whether chosen or not, all gaps need clear talk on your resume.

How to Address Gaps on Your Resume

Addressing employment gaps on your resume involves preparing to return to work during unemployment, determining which jobs to include, disguising small gaps, and using a resume style or format that makes the gap less obvious.

Preparing to Return to Work During Unemployment

Finding work after a gap can feel tough. But, don’t sit idle during unemployment. Use this time to uplift your skills and grow as a professional. You could take part in online courses or gain new certifications.

This shows hiring managers that you’re proactive even when not in formal employment.

It’s also smart to stay informed about job market trends. Keep reading about your field of work so you’re always up-to-date with the latest news, facts, and figures. By doing these things, you prepare yourself for returning to work while dealing with unemployment effectively.

Which Jobs to Include on Your Resume

Making the right choices on job inclusion in your resume is key. Here are some steps to guide you:

  1. Look at all of your past jobs.
  2. Pick out the ones that match the job you want.
  3. Think about the skills and tasks in those jobs.
  4. See if they link to the new job you want.
  5. List these jobs on your resume.
  6. Always tell the truth about your work history.
  7. If there are gaps, give a short reason for them.
  8. Be ready to talk about what you did during those gaps.
  9. Remember, break times can offer good skills too!
  10. Put any new skills learned during breaks on your resume.

Disguising Small Gaps by Omitting the Month

You can hide small job gaps on your resume. Do this by leaving out the month in your work dates. Only show the years you worked at each job. This makes short breaks less easy to spot.

But, always tell the truth if asked about these gaps in a job talk.

Use Resume Style or Format to Make the Gap Less Obvious

To make employment gaps less obvious on your resume, you can use a resume style or format that helps to downplay them. Here are some options to consider:

  • Functional resume format: Instead of focusing on chronological work history, this format emphasizes your skills and abilities. It allows you to showcase relevant skills and experiences, regardless of when they occurred.
  • Career summary statement: Include a strong career summary at the beginning of your resume. This brief section highlights your key accomplishments and qualifications, drawing attention away from any employment gaps.
  • Key accomplishments: Highlight your achievements in previous roles. By showcasing your successes and contributions, you demonstrate the value you can bring to potential employers.
  • Hybrid resume format: Combining elements of both the chronological and functional formats, this style allows you to highlight specific skills while still including a work history section. This can help cover up any employment gaps.

Reason for Longer Employment Gaps as its Own Job

Demonstrate continuous learning and a positive attitude by listing the reason for longer employment gaps as its own job on your resume.

Demonstrating Continuous Learning

It’s important to show that you have continued to learn and develop your skills during employment gaps on your resume. This can be done by including any relevant experience gained during the gap, such as professional development courses, certifications, or volunteer work.

By highlighting these experiences, you can demonstrate that you have stayed proactive and engaged in learning even while not formally employed. Employers appreciate candidates who make an effort to keep their skills fresh and up-to-date, so don’t hesitate to showcase what you’ve learned during your time off.

Staying Positive

It’s essential to stay positive when addressing employment gaps on your resume. While it can be tempting to feel discouraged or apologetic about these gaps, maintaining a positive mindset is crucial.

Hiring managers appreciate candidates who demonstrate confidence and optimism. Remember that everyone faces challenges in their professional careers, and what matters most is how you handle them.

Instead of dwelling on the gap itself, focus on highlighting your skills, experiences, and continuous learning during that time. Emphasize the progress you’ve made in your job search and any career accomplishments you’ve achieved since then.

Adding a “Career Break” Placeholder on Your Resume

To address longer employment gaps on your resume, one effective strategy is adding a “Career Break” placeholder. This involves listing the gap as its own job on your resume and providing a valid explanation for the break.

By doing this, you can demonstrate continuous learning and show that you stayed positive during the time off. Make sure to highlight any relevant experience or skills gained during the career break to showcase your growth and development.

Using this approach can help fill in the employment gap and make it less noticeable to hiring managers.

Types of Employment Gaps and How to Handle Them

Types of employment gaps include parental leave, layoffs or termination, pandemic-related unemployment, and medical reasons. To address these gaps on your resume, focus on demonstrating continuous learning, staying positive, and adding a “career break” placeholder.

Additionally, consider filling current gaps with ventures like freelance work or expanding your network through networking events.

Parental Leave

Parental leave is a common reason for employment gaps, and it’s important to address it on your resume. To do this, title the gap as a “planned career break” and include the exact period of time off.

It’s also recommended to provide a brief explanation for taking the break, such as caring for growing children. Being a stay-at-home parent is widely recognized as a valid reason for an employment gap, so don’t be afraid to mention it in your cover letter and resume.

Additionally, listing relevant experiences gained during this time can help showcase continuous learning and skills development.

Layoff or Termination

Layoff or termination can cause gaps in your employment history on your resume. It is important to handle these gaps carefully when writing your resume. You should explain the reason for the gap honestly and positively, without going into too much detail.

Focus on any relevant skills or experiences you gained during the time off, such as volunteering or taking courses. By showcasing continuous learning and a positive mindset, you can address the gap in a way that highlights your strengths to hiring managers.


The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of people to lose their jobs and experience employment gaps. These types of gaps need to be addressed on a resume because employers often see them in a negative way.

It’s important to explain the gap caused by the pandemic and include any relevant experience gained during that time. Being honest about your employment history on your resume is recommended to avoid any surprises during the interview process.

Medical Reasons

Medical reasons can be a valid explanation for employment gaps on a resume. Sometimes, people need to take time off from work due to illness or injury. During this time, job seekers can use the opportunity to engage in professional development or volunteer work related to their field of interest.

This shows employers that even though they were not employed during the gap period, they were still actively involved in activities that helped them gain new skills and knowledge. It’s important for job seekers to explain these medical reasons in their cover letter and provide detailed explanations if necessary.

By doing so, they have the chance to highlight any new skills acquired during the gap and reassure employers that they are proactive and continuously looking for ways to improve themselves professionally.

Ways to Fill Work Gaps

Venture out on your own, expand your network, and pursue volunteer work or contract projects to add relevant experiences.

Venturing Out on Your Own

One way to fill gaps on your resume is by venturing out on your own and creating something from nothing. This can include personal projects or entrepreneurial endeavors that showcase your skills and abilities.

Employers value individuals who take initiative and show the ability to create opportunities for themselves. By taking this route, you not only gain valuable experience but also demonstrate qualities such as self-motivation, problem-solving, and a proactive mindset.

Plus, having projects or ventures of your own can serve as a portfolio of work that highlights what you’re capable of achieving even outside of formal employment settings.

Expanding Your Network

Expanding your network is an important step in finding new job opportunities. Networking allows you to connect with professionals in your industry who can provide valuable insights, advice, and potential job leads.

You can expand your network by attending networking events, joining professional organizations, and participating in online communities specific to your field. Building meaningful relationships with others in your industry can increase your chances of hearing about hidden job openings or getting referrals from trusted connections.

By actively expanding your network, you’ll be better positioned to find new employment opportunities and advance in your career.


In conclusion, addressing employment gaps on resume is crucial for presenting yourself in a positive light to recruiters and hiring managers. By preparing to explain the gaps, being honest, highlighting valuable skills gained during that time, and considering different resume formats, you can effectively address and mitigate the impact of employment gaps.

Addressing employment gaps on your resume can be effectively managed through strategic approaches and emphasizing transferable skills gained during a career break. It’s essential to tailor your resume to showcase your qualifications and experiences in the best light.

Additionally, entrusting your job search after a career break to a headhunter can be a valuable step. Headhunters have the expertise to position your resume to your advantage, emphasizing transferable skills and experiences that make you a strong candidate. They can help you tap into hidden job opportunities and guide you toward a successful return to the workforce.

Remember to focus on your career progress and accomplishments while showcasing a proactive mindset throughout your job search journey.

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Crafting Your Success: Customized Resume and Cover Letter

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