How to Deal with a Gap in Employment on Your Resume

Is it possible to compensate for a gap in employment on your resume? If you have a consistent professional history without gaps then your resume looks attractive. But there are lots of situations of personal and professional character which you simply cannot control. How to deal with that and present yourself in the best possible manner?

- Use a Combination Resume

A combination resume is much more effective than a chronological one because it lists your skills and accomplishments before the experience with actual dates. When writing a summary or profile section use memorable and effective words to help with the key-word search and hook the reader into your resume. After that include a "Highlights of Accomplishments" section which shows your outstanding accomplishments and results and quickly communicates why you are a good fit for the position. You can write it as a list of five or six sentences in bold type to make it stand out.

- Use Just the Years

It's not necessary to provide months on your resume so you can list just the years. And if the gap is small it will help caver it. Is it a lie? No. You are going to present exact dates of employment in an application later on. But the aim of a resume is to get an interview where you will be able to explain the reasons for the gap in employment and show why you are the right candidate for the job.

- Use a Cover Letter

When compensating for a gap in your employment a cover letter is exactly what you need. You can explain the gap to the potential employer: if it is some life event you can simply tell about it (e.g. caring for elderly parents). If not you should show what you weren't just unemployed but did some job skills training courses, learned something work related or contributed something positive to a society, did any volunteer activities, show that your gap was a valuable and helpful time for you which developed your skills and made you an ideal candidate.

- Omit One or More Jobs

If you have a lengthy work history there is no need to include all of your experiences on the resume. It's reasonable to put jobs that extend beyond 15 years in a previous experience section and point out just company name and title.

No matter what the reasons for your employment gaps are, use all the tools to present yourself in the best possible way and remember to remain optimistic and show that you are ready and willing to return to work.

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