Every career, no matter how impressive and filled with varied work history it has, is bound to have a few gaps. There are reasons, sometimes genuine and sometimes beyond your control, for which you may need to take a break.
These career gaps can be daunting to you, especially when you feel that they may create a bad impression of you on the employers.
But rather than trying to hide these career gaps, you should be upfront about them in your resume. After all, employers are used to seeing them and will likely have questions about them during the interview process.
So how do you go about it?
This can be particularly alarming for recruiters and hiring managers, who may worry that there is a good reason why the applicant is unemployed. In some cases, there may be an explanation for the gap – but often, it’s simply because the individual has taken some time off to undertake other endeavors.
According to a survey, the majority of employees have taken a break at some point during their professional career, with 62% taking impromptu leave and 35% planning to do so in the future. These results were especially notable among women professionals. So, it’s nothing to panic about.
If you find yourself in this situation, don’t worry – here are some tips on explaining the career gap in your resume with ease!
What is Career Gap in Resume
A career gap on your resume can be any period where you were not employed, whether by choice or by compusion.
For example, if you took time off to raise your children, travel the world, or go back to school, that would all be a career gap.
Career gap in resume is fine as long as you are prepared to explain it to the interviewers. The best way to do this is to focus on what you were doing during that time that is relevant to the job you’re applying for.
For example, if you took a few years off to raise your children, it is good to be genuine and open about it. You could further talk about how that has made you more patient and good at multitasking. If you took a gap year to travel, you could talk about how that has made you more independent and adaptable.
[ Learn how to talk about it with – Why have you been Unemployed for such a long time? Best Answer ]
How to explain your Career gap on your resume
While most gaps in employment are due to simple breaks between jobs. Some job seekers have larger gaps that they must account for on their resumes.
These career gaps can be due to various reasons, such as raising children, pursuing further education, or taking time off to travel.
Whatever the reason for the gap, it is important to explain it in a way that will not dissuade employers from inviting you for interviews.
One way to explain a career gap is to focus on the skills you gained during that time. For example, if you took a few years off to raise your children, you can highlight that you honed your organizational and multitasking skills during that time.
If you pursue further education during your career gap, list any relevant coursework or degrees you earned. You can also use your cover letter to mention your career gap briefly and explain how you plan to bridge that gap in your current job search. By handling your career gap confidently and positively, you can show employers that it does not represent a liability in your job search. Let’s look at some of the good reasons for the career gap.
9 Good Reasons to show for your Career Gap in Resume
1. You Took Time to Reflect on Your Goals
One of the best things about taking a career break is that it gives you time to reflect on your goals.
What do you want to achieve in your career? What kind of work makes you happy? Some time off can help you determine the answers to these important questions.
This is a good answer if you are questioned about the career gap in the resume. Explain the things you realized after you had time to reflect on your goals.
2. You Learned Some New Skills
If you used your career break to learn new skills, that’s definitely a positive thing!
Whether you took a few courses, got certified in something, or simply taught yourself a new skill, adding something new to your skill set can make you more attractive to employers.
This is a understandable reason to explain your career gap!
3. You Got Some Real-World Experience
If your career break involves working in a related field, then that’s a great experience to put on your resume.
Even if it wasn’t in your desired field, any kind of work experience is valuable. Employers like to see that you’ve been active and keeping busy during your career break.
Maybe you volunteered to teach at an orphanage or climbed Mt Everest!
Getting real-world experience is an amazing reason to give.
4. You Had a Chance to Travel
If you used your career break as an opportunity to travel, that’s definitely a plus.
Travel can be a great way to learn about new cultures and gain some invaluable life experience and perspective.
Plus, it looks great on a resume if you put it as a hobby. Share your recent traveling story or the most delicious food you tried in a new place!
5. You Took Care of Family or Personal Matters
If you took time off to take care of family or personal matters, that is also a valid reason for a career break.
Employers understand that sometimes life happens, and things come up that are more important than work—taking care of your parents when they are under the weather. It’s a totally valid reason.
6. You Volunteered or Did Some Charity Work
Volunteering or doing charity work is another great way to spend your time during a career break.
Explain how you took time to contribute something great to charity work or became a supporter of a community. Not only will it make you feel good, but it will also look great on your resume.
Moreover, employers love to see candidates with a history of giving back.
7. You Went Back to School
If you decided to return to school during your career break, that is definitely something positive.
You may have felt that you had to get an MBA degree after all. And that’s fine. Getting additional education shows employers that you’re dedicated to furthering your career and expanding your skillset.
8. You Wrote a Book or Started a Business
If you used your time off work to write a book or start a business, congratulations! This is a huge accomplishment and definitely something worth putting on your resume.
Starting a business takes a lot of hard work and dedication, so employers will be impressed by this accomplishment and will want to share your learnings with them.
9. You Had Some Health Issues
That is perfectly understandable if you took time off from work due to health issues. Employers understand that sometimes health comes first, and they will be sympathetic to this situation. Be sure to emphasize how you handled the situation and what steps you took to get healthy again.
[ Pack a punch to your resume with – 40+ Powerful Strengths in Resume for freshers ]
Where to explain Career Gap on Resume
There are 3 places where you can explain your career gap on your resume:
- First, you will want to explain any employment gaps in your cover letter. Your cover letter is an opportunity to provide more information about your work history and highlight your qualifications for the position. If there are significant gaps in your employment, you may consider briefly explaining the reason for the gap in your cover letter. For example, if you took time off to care for a sick family member, you could mention this in your cover letter.
- Second, when listing dates of employment on your resume, include the month and year so that employers can more easily see any gaps in your employment history.
- Finally, if you are asked about employment gaps during an interview, be honest and direct in your explanation. Be prepared to discuss the reasons for your unemployment and what you did during that time. For example, if you took a break to raise your children, you could discuss how this has helped you develop strong organizational skills.
Being honest and upfront about any employment gaps will show potential employers that you are a candid and trustworthy candidate.
7 Tips to make your Career gap on resume look better
The best way to deal with a career gap is to explain it in a simple manner:
1. Be honest
The first and most important tip is, to be honest about your career gap.
Don’t try to hide it or downplay it, as this will only make it more noticeable. Instead, be upfront about the reasons for your career break, whether for personal reasons, to raise a family, or to pursue further education.
2. Highlight what you did during your career break
If you took a career break to raise a family or pursue further education, highlight these activities on your resume.
For example, you can list any volunteer work you did during your break or any courses you took that are relevant to the job you’re applying for.
If you didn’t do anything particularly noteworthy during your break, simply listing the dates of your break will suffice.
3. Emphasize how your skills are still relevant
Even if you took a long career break, your skills are still relevant to the job you’re applying for.
Emphasize how your skills are still relevant by highlighting any experience you have that is transferable to the new role.
For example, suppose you’re applying for a marketing job but took a 2-year break to raise a family. In that case, you can highlight any experience with social media, writing, or graphic design.
4. Explain why you’re looking to return to work
When explaining why you’re looking to return to work after a long career break, emphasize your commitment to the new role.
Explain how the role fits your skills and experience and how it aligns with your long-term goals.
Avoid giving the impression that you’re only returning to work because you need the money; instead, focus on how the new role is a step forward in your career.
5. Be prepared to answer questions about your career gap
During an interview, be prepared to answer questions about your career gap in a positive light.
Emphasize what you learned during your break and how it will help you in the new role. Avoid sounding like you’re making excuses for taking a career break; instead, focus on how the break has made you a better candidate for the job.
6. Include any unpaid work
Maybe you got an opportunity you couldn’t refuse or decided you needed a break from your career to focus on an organization that holds meaning for you.
In either case, filling your periods of unemployment with volunteer work is a great way to provide value and improve your resume.
Not only will it show prospective employers that you care about the community, but it will also give you a chance to gain new skills and experiences.
Here’s an example:
I’m excited to share my skills and experience with you. I know I have a lot to offer your team, and I can hit the ground running. However, I have a gap in my employment history. My previous company downsized, forcing me to take a break from work for a few months. I understand that this may be a concern, but I can assure you that it was entirely out of my control. During this time, I stayed sharp by taking on freelance projects and maintaining my industry connections. I’m confident this won’t be an issue moving forward and that I’ll be able to contribute to your team meaningfully.
By sharing this information upfront, you’re showing that you’re comfortable discussing the gap in your employment history and that you’re confident in your ability to overcome it. This can help to build trust and empathy with your potential employer.
7. Mention your career gap on your cover letter or resume
Once again, mention it on your cover letter as well. For example, if you took a few years off to raise your children, mention that on your cover letter.
Doing so will show the employer that you are willing to be upfront about your work history. Additionally, you can use the cover letter to explain how the skills you gained during your time off will help you in the role you are applying for.
For example, if you are applying for a position in customer service, you can mention how your time as a stay-at-home mom has helped you to develop patience and multitasking skills.
How will you handle the career gap in your resume?
Overall, it can be difficult to explain a career gap in your resume, but it is possible with these tips.
Be honest, highlight the skills you’ve gained during your time off, and focus on the future. With careful explanation and a positive attitude, you can turn a potential roadblock into an opportunity.
If you want to make your resume attractive for recruiters, read :
1. Resume Objective for Fresher – How to write it Impressively
2. About Me in a Resume – How to write it Smartly
3. Career Objective in Resume for Freshers – 101 Powerful Examples
Once your resume is top-notch, you will receive many interview calls. Don’t miss out on rare and useful insights in the “Fresher Interview Questions and Answers” section!