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How to Explain an Employment Gap on Your Resume

This blog was first published on July 10 but contained an inaccurate reference to the blue frog, instead of the blog frog, which has been corrected.

My Workplace Ethics Advice blog is listed on the site,, as a career resource. The following blog was provided by them. It deals with ethical ways to explain gaps in one's resume. 

Leaving a job due to personal issues or being laid off is difficult to explain. Just like dealing with a breakup, many people take time before getting back on the horse. When looking for a new job, your employment gap is going to stand out, which means that you need to explain it.

Whether you are applying for jobs online on sites such as Browse 300+ New Positions or getting a recommendation from a friend, you need to have your resume ready. Here are some tips for explaining an employment gap on your resume.

Explaining on the resume Itself

Don’t be Vague

When it comes to applying for a job, honesty is the best policy. This means that you should not try to hide your employment gaps by writing your resume differently.

Excluding dates of information will make your potential employer doubtful about your work history. Instead of making employers doubt your honesty, you should be clear about your employment gap.

Detail What You Have Been Doing

When you are unemployed, it is easy to fall into a slump and stay idle. However, you should force yourself to remain active and keep moving forward. You need to show your future employers that you did not let joblessness stop you by detailing what you did during that time.

Whether you volunteered at a local charity or attended a workshop, you should add those activities to your resume. This will show employers that you are not lazy and you value hard work above all else.

Explaining during Interviews

Explaining an employment gap properly on your resume will get you an interview. Now you have to focus on impressing your potential employer in person. Here are some tips on how to do that:

Be Honest

When an interviewer sees an employment gap on your resume, he will ask you about it. If you leave it open to interpretation, the interviewers might end up making the wrong assumptions. You need to address the gap in your employment history instead of leaving it up to chance.

If your previous organization had serious budget cuts that resulted in your termination, you should be honest. On the other hand, if you left your previous job on your own terms, you should be willing to explain why you did that.

Bring It up

Your interviewer has already seen your resume and is likely to ask about the employment gap during the interview. Instead of waiting for him to bring it up, you should control the narrative by bringing up the gap. This way, you will be able to explain it on your own terms instead of waiting for questions that will lead you down the wrong path of omitting important details.

Be Confident

If you do not know how to explain your employment gap properly, you will jinx your interview. You can make a great first impression by showing confidence in your answers. You just have to relax and communicate your answers clearly.

Be Positive

Of course, it is hard to explain an exit from any job because it probably affected your life negatively. You need to keep a positive attitude all through the interview even if your employment gap brings up bad memories. This will show the interviewer that you are optimistic about getting a new job and not still bitter about losing the old one. Even if you left your previous job on bad terms, you should not allow this to taint your interviews with negativity.

Share Your Experience

What did you learn during your period of unemployment? Employers want to know that you learned something during your unemployment gap. To be a great employee, you need to learn your lesson and move on. Your interviewer will be glad to know that you can learn from negative and positive experiences.

Moreover, if you took some classes to widen your skill set during that time, you will be more hirable. It will also show your potential employer that you were eager to move on after losing your job.

Explaining a gap on your resume is not an easy thing to do but the above tips will come in handy in helping you to expedite your job search.


Blog provided by and posted by Steven Mintz, aka Ethics Sage, on July 10, 2018. Visit my website and sign up for my newsletter.