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Bridging Gaps in Your Resume: Explaining Unemployment

By on Jan 22, 2014 | 0 comments

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Jobless man

One concern that many people have when it comes to their resume is how to explain gaps in employment. Whether they took time off to raise their children or to go back to school, or got laid off, they worry that it may negatively impact their chances of landing a job. It is not as uncommon anymore for people to have these gaps, and employers recognize that. However, it is how you address these periods that makes all the difference.

Focus on the Positive

Regardless of the reason for unemployment, focus on how you made the most of this time. Employers want to see that you were actively engaged in some type of activity. Show how volunteering, networking, or taking continuing education or professional development courses helped to boost your skills. How did a seemingly unrelated job provide you with experience that you can bring to the job you are applying for? Or how did it clarify where you see yourself in the future? Focus on what you gained during this time.

Consider a Functional Resume

If you are worried about multiple or significant gaps in employment, consider switching to a functional resume format. Unlike a chronological format, it focuses more on your strengths, abilities, and accomplishments as a whole, rather than divided by position. You can list your employment history after showcasing what makes you a strong candidate.

Also, when listing previous employment, include only the years instead of the month and year. This can help to reduce the emphasis on small gaps and draw the employer’s attention instead to the position held and experience gained.

Emphasize Growth

Highlight your accomplishments and what makes you a good fit for the position and company. What projects or assignments have you successfully completed that will benefit the employer? How have you continued to build upon and refine your skills, even through periods of unemployment? Show that you are motivated and driven to improve yourself and your abilities.

Give an Honest Answer – And then Move on

During an interview, questions will almost inevitably arise about gaps in employment. Prepare for them so they do not catch you off-guard and you can provide a confident answer. Answer honestly and concisely, and then move on. Avoid drawing out your answer or trying to add more detail or explanation than necessary. This will only serve to draw more attention to the situation.

Make the Most of Your Experiences

A gap in employment is not necessarily a red flag, especially if you are able to show how it made you a stronger candidate. Keep an open mind and look at things from a different perspective. Explain how you made the most of this time and what you learned in the process. Having a more well-rounded background and comprehensive skill set can make a positive difference and help you to stand out among the competition.

If you are struggling to address gaps in your employment history, let Chic Resumes by Grammar Chic lend a hand. We can help you to craft a resume that highlights your strengths and abilities and shows employers what you have to offer. Contact us today by calling 803-831-7444 or visiting www.chicresumes.com.

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