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How to Explain Gaps in Your Job History

July 14th, 2017

So, you’ve got some gaps on your resume. It’s not the end of the world.

However, if you don’t think about how you’re going to explain them, it may cost you the job offer.

Whether you took time off to care for kids or an aging parent, or simply to travel, you can spin this negative into positive. Here’s how:

Shed light on it in your cover letter.

Assume that a hiring manager is going to ask about that glaring gap in your employment history. That’s why you should head it off at the pass and explain it in your cover letter. Hiring managers aren’t necessarily ruling you out just because you have a one-year resume gap. However, they will be curious as to why it’s there – and want to ensure it doesn’t have anything to do with your ability to perform on the job.

Don’t lie.

You took a year off to backpack around Europe. Or you quit your job before you had a new one lined up and never expected the process to take this long. Whatever the case, be upfront. Don’t lie hoping the hiring manager won’t find out, because they will.

Before an offer is extended, they’ll verify your work history and other credentials. That means a call to your last employer to check your start and end dates. Most hiring managers know unemployment can happen to even the best candidates. However, lying will get you booted from the process.

Focus on the positive.

Even if you got fired or were laid off, you can turn a negative into a positive by focusing on what you learned from the experience. Talk about how you worked on a contract or temporary job. Discuss the classes you took to sharpen or expand your skills. And let hiring managers know about your volunteer work during your time out of the employment marketplace.

When you make the experience sound valuable – and can talk about what you learned from it – hiring managers are much more likely to overlook a resume gap.

Beyond discussing your career gap in your cover letter, be prepared to talk about it in an interview. That way, you can answer any questions without getting flustered.

For more cover letter and resume help, check out this blog post: What’s the Right Type of Résumé for Your Upstate SC Job Search?

And if you’d like professional assistance finding your next job in Greenville, SC, turn to the team at True Group. Since 1991, our recruiters have been matching the right people (that’s you!) with top companies throughout the area. Contact us today to get started, or search our jobs in Greenville now.

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