Nearly every working person has been affected by brief periods of unemployment at some point in a work history. It’s been estimated that the average adult can spend as much as 28 to 34 weeks looking for work during periods of unemployment. From corporate layoffs to returning to school, there could be gaps on your resume that you are concerned about. How can you write your resume so that your work history looks better to potential recruiters, and more importantly, how do you explain gaps in employment to a hiring manager during an interview?
Use a Year-Based Resume Format for Work Experience
One trick that professional resume writers recommend for a spotty work history is to steer clear from adding months to a resume, and just sticking to years. For example, if you worked at a job from 11/1/12 to 12/15/13, that’s not very long. Instead, use 2012 – 2013, which looks a lot better on a resume. If you left one job on 4/16/14 and did not work again until 9/1/14, that gap looks more obvious than if you put your last job end date as 2014 and your next job start date as 2014, the same year.
Explain What You Were Doing During the Employment Gap
If you are dealing with a long gap in employment, 6 months or more, then you will want to have a reasonable explanation for this lapse in work. Use your resume to explain what you were doing during this time. You may have decided to stay home with a new child until they were in pre-school, which is understandable. Or you may have been attending college classes, volunteering to get more career experience, or running a home business. Just be honest, as many hiring managers will not judge you for this activity.
Make Sure to Add in Any Temporary Jobs You’ve Held
You can fill in the gaps in employment if you have worked in any temporary assignments. List them as a single employer (the name of your staffing agency) with each job listed below. Highlight any accomplishments you had in each assignment. If you are unemployed currently or need to get some extra career experience, register with our staffing agency and work on temporary assignments, which can lead to full time and perm placement with great companies.
Unless the hiring manager asks you, it’s best not to bring attention to employment gaps. But, be honest if you are asked about this during interviews as it’s nothing to be embarrassed about.
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