Do you have any gaps in your employment history?
Have you ever had a time when a gap in employment history had to be explained to a prospective employer? Even when the situation is easily explained, such as going back to school for a college degree, it is often tricky to find the right way to approach this topic on your resume.
The first thing you need to know is that it must be dealt with. Employers do not like to see a gap in employment history. They become suspicious when they see one. Your best means of handling this is to be honest and straightforward about it. There are some ways of stating your reasons so that they come across sounding better to the employer.
Some gaps in work history are looked upon more favorably than others. Going back to school to further your education is probably one of the easiest situations to explain. As you list your education, the dates will be sufficient explanation, but you will probably benefit from making a statement or two in your cover letter.
What if your situation wasn’t so wonderful as continuing your education? Sometimes bad things happen to good people. Sometimes people get sick or injured. If you had to care for a sick family member, your job title could be “Home Care Provider” and you list the dates you performed this job. Do not list it as “Employment History” but as “Volunteer Work”, “Additional Experience” or “Work Related History”.
Maybe your situation is one that isn’t really looked upon as good or bad. Perhaps you decided to travel for a year. List your experience as “Independent Travel” or “Supplementary Experience”. There are many things you are sure to have gained by traveling. Consider your experiences and how they relate to your chosen career field.
Whatever your situation is, take time to consider what you have learned and make the most of the experience by presenting it on your resume as best as you possibly can. There are many things an employer is not legally allowed to ask you, so don’t feel like you need to “come clean” with everything that happens in your life.
If you do feel compelled to explain anything, do so very briefly in your cover letter. Let the dates on your resume speak for themselves.