At some time in our careers, we will all have a gap in our employment history—maybe a few weeks or months, maybe a few years. A gap can occur because of a layoff, a family emergency, a health issue, a desire to further education and many other excellent reasons. How do you handle an employment gap on your resume?
First, it is not necessary to give the starting and ending months for a job. If you held one job from January 2003 to April 2010 and held the next from June 2010 to the present, simply omit the months from your resume. List only the years (2003-2010, 2010-present). In a long career, a gap of a month or two is of no interest to recruiters.
Second, if you left the workforce to further your education, those years should be covered under the “Education” section of your resume; or you can add a single line in the employment section to indicate that you spent the gap pursuing a degree.
Third, if you worked as a volunteer or consultant during the gap, by all means include that information. Volunteer and consulting work is work.
Finally, you may want to explain a gap in your cover letter or email. The explanation should be very brief, no more than one sentence. Recruiters do not need details about your family, health or other issues. If asked about the gap during a job interview, use the same brief explanation. You want to convey that the situation is over and you are focused on rejoining the workforce.
If you have gaps in your employment that worry you, please contact Robin’s Resumes®. I have years of experience helping job applicants handle problem resumes honestly and forthrightly.