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How to explain gaps in your employment on your resume
Gaps in your Resume or CV
When people travel for extensive lengths of time you always end up with gaps in your resume. In my mind, and this may be self-serving, I don't think a gap is a disaster unless you were really doing time or rehab for illegal drugs!
The important thing is to know how to explain the gap of employment history with the minimum of fuss or apology. Its your life you don't need to apologise for taking time off to live it. However there ways to phrase things to maybe persuade a future employer that NOW you are ready to concentrate on the important things in life like working for him.
The other thing to consider too, that although you may desparately want/need the job, or at least the money it pays, do you really want to work for someone who is so work-obsessed that they think all you should do is work 24/7 for someone else's profit?
Gaps in your Employment History
So what we are talking about is not so much gaps in your Resume or CV which you should avoid at all costs - but rather gaps in your employment history -which is perfectly normal as far as I am concerned!
Gaps in employment can occur because:
- you were unemployed - it happens to the best of us
- you went back to school for more study or to retrain
- you backpacked around Europe for 1/2 a year
- you renovated your home full-time
- you undertook non-professional employment to pay the rent or as part of a working-holiday
- you were ill or someone close to you was
- raising a family
Resume Explanations: Gaps in Employment
In the Resume:
Working Holiday in Europe when I endulged my passion for European history and improved my Spanish while working in the hosptiatlity industry.
I travelled around Europe partying and drinking until the cash ran out and then I did some illegal work waiting tables while shacked up with my Spanish boyfriend.
In the Resume:
Hands on project manager for a full-scale remodel and renovation of a run-down early 20th Century townhouse. I had full financial control of the budget. I liaised with the tradespeople on site on a daily basis. I was responsible for interior design and decoration.
What Actually Happened:
I couldn't get a job when I moved back to my hometown and ended up moving into a rental I already owned and doing it up while I tried to get a job. The money run out after the major building work so I did all finishing off including painting and decorating.
Number One Tip to Hide Resume Gaps :
Look at this resume:
Nov 2003 - Oct 2004 ABC Company Ltd Clerk
Nov 2004 - May 2005 Trip to Australia
Jun 2005 Mar 2006 Smith Company Ltd Purchasing Officer
Apr 2006 Nov 2007 The big Round the World Trip
Obviously this person has only worked 21 months in the 4 years to Nov 07. They also seem to keep quitting jobs just after they've got useful and talking off on another trip!
Now compare this resume:
2003 - 2004 ABC Company Ltd Clerk
2005 - 2006 Smith Company Ltd Purchasing Officer
2007 The big Round the World Trip
Now this person appears to have worked for 4 years out of the last 5 years. Yes she's done a big trip but is probably ready to commit to a job for a while - after all she must be broke!
Notice how the shorter trip disapears entirely as it was within a year. Now if cross-examined in the interview you would have to admit the actual dates but I have been doing this for years on my resume and not oneinterviewer has asked yet!
So my number 1 tip to hide resume gaps: loose the months - only report years in your work history. Time your career breaks to start early in a calendar year and finish late in a calendar year!
Lis Sowerbutts has been traveling since age 7, and has to date visited over 55 countries. She firmly believes in traveling for the over-30's and that you are never too old to start traveling A New Zealander, Lis currently lives in Perth, Australia.