Does a resume gap spell disaster for your job search? Not necessarily. Thanks to the recent recession, having a resume gap of a few months is not uncommon. As long as you present the gap in a positive light, it does not have to reduce your chance of getting the job you want.
The first question is whether you should avoid drawing attention to the resume gap or try to explain the situation. The answer depends on the length of the gap. If it is only a few months, you can simply list your periods of employments with just the years that they started and ended rather than including the exact dates. The employer might ask about the exact dates at the interview, but at least then you will have a chance to explain the situation.
Of course, you should never tell an outright lie on your resume. Resist the temptation to fabricate jobs or extend the dates during which you were in a job to cover years of unemployment. The hiring team will find out if they contact your previous employers for references. A resume gap might not spoil your chances of finding a job, but being caught lying probably will.
If you are dealing with a significant resume gap, then the best approach is to be upfront and honest about it. Offer a brief explanation in your cover letter that explains what you were doing during the period when you were out of work. However, remember that the main focus of your cover letter should be explaining how your skills and experiences make you the best candidate for the job.
You can also present a resume gap as a valuable experience. On your resume, list the activities that you took part in while you were out of work. Parenting, volunteering, study and freelance work can all contribute to the development of skills that can be valuable in the workplace. For example, running a household and looking after children full-time requires strong organizational skills, while many volunteering opportunities require you to work on a team.
If you need to handle a recent resume gap, then it can help to move away from the traditional resume style, which lists your experiences in reverse chronological order. You could try a resume format known as the functional resume, which groups achievements into categories rather than simply listing them in order. This format can make your resume gap seem less obvious.
Many job seekers are facing the problem of handling a resume gap, thanks to the recent economic downturn. However, if you handle a resume gap correctly, you can still have a successful job search that results in you landing your dream job.
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