Career Gaps on Resume: How to Explain Gaps in Employment

Career Gaps on Resume: How to Explain Gaps in Employment

Everyone's story is different and unique in its own way. It even extends to your experience at work. Sometimes you can find yourself soldiering through hard times. You may feel like a break is what you need to recover properly from a challenge.

These breaks, otherwise known as career gaps, aren't necessarily bad, at least not anymore. Here are ways to be transparent with your career gaps and transform them into positive experiences.

Career Gaps: What Is It and Its Types

A career gap is the period when you're not employed. The intervals can range from weeks to a few months, with some reaching several years.

There are many reasons why people take career gaps, and these shouldn't be a basis for whether employers should accept or reject a candidate. They may have gone through personal struggles or burnout from previous employment. While everyone's case is different, below are just some of the common reasons why you would take a career gap:

  • Parental leave

    One of the common reasons someone would take an employment gap is to spend more time with their spouse and newborn child.

  • Sabbatical

    A sabbatical is an extended period spent not working. During this time, you may still be under contract with your employer and get your salary.

  • Career changes

    At some point, you may consider taking a break to bring some perspective to your career. Eventually, you can decide that you're better off working towards a different job than the one you have now.

  • Further education

    Leaving your job to improve your knowledge or craft further usually involves returning to school or specialization training.

  • Health issues

    You can opt to take a career break if your mental or physical health needs it. It ensures you can recover properly and effectively to address health concerns.

4 Tips on How to Explain Employment Gap

Regardless of your reason, taking a career gap is okay. You can implement certain approaches to turn career gaps into positive experiences that can benefit you in future work opportunities.

  1. Get ready to talk about it with your future employer

    No matter how hard you try, you'll have to discuss your gap sooner or later. If your future employer asks about it, you can convey whatever reason you have calmly and concisely. Explaining the situation can give other people an insight into what happened, and they can even let it slide if the break is necessary for physical or mental health or family matters.

  2. Keep it positive

    Always keep the tone about your gap positive. In most cases, a career gap isn't because your employer fired you or laid you off, so talking about it without negative emotions can help reassure future employers that the gap isn't as serious.

  3. Fill the gap

    To further reassure your potential new employer, you can segue by saying that during this gap, you've been improving yourself through online courses, soft skills, or technical skills.

  4. Tailor it to what you're applying for

    Try and fit your experiences during your gap into anything relevant to the position you're applying for. Consider the skills you managed to gain or hone during your gap period and connect it to the necessary skills and demands required for the job.

Filling in the Gap

Choosing to take a career break should no longer be stigmatized since there are many reasons why you would take a career gap. While you can't help it in many instances, nobody goes through these periods easily.

Instead of staying down in the dumps while taking a break, list and record everything productive you did that can benefit future job prospects, from soft skills to job-specific skills. It's important to keep this in mind when creating your resume.

When you're ready to dive back into the workforce, find your next job opportunity at

Written by Career Specialist Mar 29, 2023
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