Ask A Recruiter: Explaining a Gap in your Resume

Q: What’s your advice for explaining a gap in a resume?

A: A gap in your resume, i.e. a period of time that isn’t filled by employment, is usually perceived negatively by employers and typically will generate questions from the interviewer. Therefore, it’s important to have a logical and credible explanation for the gap.

The explanation will depend on why you have the gap. Is it because you were unemployed and spent that time looking for a new job? Did you take time off on purpose to care for family or to travel before settling down? Or were you relocating and didn’t have a new job lined up before the move? These are all plausible reasons for gaps and I hear them every day.

The most important thing to consider when you are explaining why you have a gap in your resume is the message you are sending. For instance, if you decided to travel after a job ended and before looking for another position, you’re sending the message that you prioritized personal pleasure over work. This might cause the employer to wonder if you’re serious about working now. It’s important to be truthful in your explanation, but think about your response from the listener’s point of view. If you have a gap on your resume because you were unemployed, explain your job search and details on how you spent that time. Did you have goals and a structured approach to your job search? Did you volunteer, intern or work temporary or contract positions in the meantime? Even if they weren’t in your field, they could show that you were motivated to get back to work.

If you’re living through a gap period right now, I recommend trying temporary or contract work. Not only are you keeping your skills up-to-date, but each day you are working will expose you to new contacts and experiences that may lead you to the job you’re looking for. Many times temporary and contract positions turn into offers for full-time work.

About the Recruiter
frank-gentile-2Frank Gentile is a 20+ year veteran of the staffing industry and an experienced recruiter. As a Director at Professional Staffing Group (PSG) Frank oversees the permanent placement division.

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