How to Deal with Employment Gaps on a Resume

Author: ExpressCV Editorial Team
Updated on July 12, 2018

Gaps in your employment history or being unemployed for a significant period of time (more than a few months) can look rough on a resume.

But employment gaps happen, and they don’t have to negatively impact your chances of getting that job you’re looking at.

Address Employment Gaps Head On

Ignoring an employment gap will only make it more obvious, so address the issue in an honest, but assuring manner.

Most of the time, being out of work for a longer stretch of time can be explained by taking time off to raise children, take care of a sick relative, dealing with an illness, extended travelling (if you’re lucky), or going back to school.

The key? Be honest, but not apologetic.Don’t dwell on your employment gap! Address it and then move on. You can put a one-line explanation in your employment history like “2018-2019 [Childcare]”. Then you can use your cover letter to add a little more of an explanation to preempt questions. You can also talk about any freelancing or courses you took during that time. Done!

You might have heard someone advise you to describe your time off as “consulting”,’s not as good of an idea as it sounds. First of all, stretching the truth is one thing, but lying is another thing entirely. Second of all, you might be asked during an interview about the projects you worked on or asked for proof. This small lie could really come back to bite you.

You might also be tempted to reorganize your work history or change your dates a little bit to make your employment gap disappear. Also not a good idea! Sometimes employers will check your dates of employment during a background check. And recruiters can see through these tricks a mile away.

If you think your employment gap is hurting your resume more than normal, think about choosing a skills-based resume format that emphasizes your skills over your experience.

And last of all, please don’t put your friend’s phone number down as your reference for a job!

Hope that helped! Have any additional questions about employment gaps? Ask away and we’ll do our best to get back to you!



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