If you are in the midst of a job search you probably have updated your resume recently to be sure it includes all the latest information from your employment history. If you are fortunate, each of the jobs you’ve held seamlessly flow into the next job. But if you have stretches of time where you were not employed between jobs this can create employment gaps on your resume.
The reasons for these gaps can be as varied as the people who have them:
- You took time off after the birth of a child.
- After a move out of state, you took some time to get settled.
- A disability may have kept you from seeking work for an extended period of time.
- You were laid off, or down-sized out of a job and it simply took you a number of months to find another job in your field.
- Or a less favorable reason, such as incarceration.
Regardless of how the gap happened, if there are holes in your resume you’ll need to find a way to address them. Once you get an interview it’s easy to explain the situation you were facing at the time, but some hiring managers could see those resume gaps as a red flag and not even give you the chance to interview.
There are different types of resumes that are better suited for different types of job seekers. One of the best resume templates for people with employment gaps is the Functional Formatted resume. This format allows you to highlight your qualifications and accomplishments more than your actual work history. During your time off, were you taking any classes to help further your career? Did you get involved in your children’s school, or do any volunteer work? The key is to show that you were a productive member of society during this time, and not just working on your sun tan.
Even more important than explaining your job history gaps is to be certain the employment history you list is as accurate as possible. That means the correct dates of employment as well as employer names and addresses. If recalling this info for all of your past jobs is challenging you may want to check out an employment history service such as MyPreEmployment Check. They provide consumers with details of their complete job histories, going back as far as nine years.
If you have gaps in your employment, it could be tempting to lie about the dates you were employed before and after those gaps. This tactic could certainly cover up any holes in your resume, but it would be a very bad idea. Employers themselves are using employment history services as part of their pre-hiring background checks. If they discover you are lying on your resume you’ll have zero chance of landing that job. And if they discover the lie after hiring you, that could be grounds for termination even if you have been employed for years.
Take the time to craft your resume so that it reflects your employment gap in a positive way. It could actually give you a leg up on other applicants.