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How to explain a gap in your resume

How not to draw a blank on the blank space in your resume

It’s the blank space in your resume, and it’s about as noticeable as a three inch hole in your favourite cashmere sweater. Not particularly pretty on the surface, but it’s all about how you interpret it. Gaps between life events or between jobs will likely cause an employer to sit upright. But if you are prepared and have career-focused justifications for those six months of sunbaking in Bora Bora, then there is no reason to fear the big blank space. 

So chew over our recommendations below, pick up a pen and fill in the blank space:

  1. Pull out the positive

Find the positive, it’s in there, we promise! It doesn’t matter why you were unemployed – whether it was to concentrate on a hobby, travel, upskill or even to master Tony Hawks Pro-Skater, the point is that you will have learnt something. There is a positive in every situation, so dig it out and highlight this if the gap is questioned.

  1. Great delivery opens great opportunities

Deliver your explanation for the shiny blank space with a shiny smile and a dollop of confidence. If you want to put the employer’s mind at ease then you need to sound at ease too. However, be careful not to overcomplicate your answer for your unemployment time, or you could risk inviting more questions. Less complication equals less questions.  

  1. Emphasise productivity

Show off examples of where you were productive during the unemployment period. Perhaps you discovered a new passion, or improved a certain skillset. Document any networking events you attended, or volunteering you completed. Even career-related personal reading counts. Show these off; after all, if you want to stand out then you have to show-off what you have to offer above the competition.

  1. Don’t dwell on the gap

Instead of dwelling on the blank space, be succinct and move swiftly on. To reiterate a point made earlier, fewer complications means fewer questions.

We hope this gives you enough momentum to enter something pretty darn inspiring in the blank space. Just remember, a blank space in your resume is not a negative. Not if you can relate time off to contributing to your career. Fill in the blank space and you’re going for gold!


By Heather Doherty

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