How to Explain an Unemployment Gap on Your Resume?

Wondering how to explain an unemployment gap on your resume? Although explaining unemployment gaps can be a bit intimidating, you can do it effectively. It is possible to explain the gaps on your resume and during the interview.


Reasons why people have unemployment gaps on their resumes

Explaining the gaps in your resume is all about knowing the reasons that are okay to share. Moreover, you need to be comfortable with your answer.

Here are some reasons why people have unemployment gaps on their resumes:

3-step strategy to explain an unemployment gap on your resume

Once you prepare your reasons, you can use the following approaches to explain the gap:

Step 1: Be clear, but succinct

Explain the unemployment gap on your resume clearly but succinctly. You do not have to go into detail, giving the core facts might be enough.

Step 2: Show that you’re serious

Let the employers know that the situation has ended so that they will not worry about you taking another break. If you get the job, your employer will need to know that you are ready to work and take things seriously.

Step 3: Emphasize your motivation

Reiterate your interest in the job and show how well you are qualified for it.

How to explain an unemployment gap on your resume?

If you are having trouble landing a job interview, it could be because of the gap in employment. You need to devise new ways to explain the gaps on your resume if you want to be called to interviews.

Here are several ways to explain unemployment gaps when applying for jobs such as Neurology Physician Positions:

  1. If your gaps are longer, you should consider putting a brief note in your resume to explain. Make sure that you include your previous positions as well as the dates that you held them. You can also include your gaps then write a brief note. For instance, you could write, “Took a break to take care of my ailing wife”.
  2. List the years instead of months if you have small gaps in your resume. This will conceal the gaps without making you seem dishonest. However, this will not work if your gaps are longer than a year or are frequent.

Additional ways to explain an unemployment gap on your resume

If you use the above strategies to explain your unemployment gap, you should also use them on your LinkedIn profile.

Have you tried these methods and none of them seems to work?

You should try to explain what happened in your cover letter because it will allow you to go into more detail.

There is no way of knowing what will work for your case so you should consider trying everything.

You can send ten resumes and if you do not get a response, you should change something. If nothing is working, you cannot keep doing the same things and expecting different results.

You should not be discouraged if a few companies say they are not interested. Just work on your resume and send it to the companies that you are interested in – eventually, you will get an interview.

How to explain unemployment gaps during the interview?

When you get an interview, make sure you’re well prepared to explain the unemployment gaps on your resume.

Here is what you need to remember when you’re answering job interview questions:

Tip 1: Make yourself sound like you are in demand

If you are trying to explain a current gap, you should make it sound like you are being selective and focusing on finding a job that is the right fit for your long-term needs. This is going to sound better than saying that you could not find a single company that was interested in you as an employee.

If you had been actively searching for jobs during your unemployment gap, you should mention the interviews that you had in that period.

If your gap was health-related, you can say that you have not had any interviews. However, you should be ready to prove that you were sick.

Tip2: Be honest and forthcoming

Although unemployment gaps happen, if you have made it to an interview, it means that the interviewers like something about your resume. This means that you should be honest when explaining any gaps on your resume. You will not lose the job opportunity by telling the truth but you will definitely lose it by lying.

About the author

Ashley is an award-winning writer who discovered her passion in providing creative solutions for building brands online. Since her first high school award in Creative Writing, she continues to deliver awesome content through various niches.

Frequently asked questions

What are common acceptable reasons for unemployment gaps on a resume? 

Acceptable reasons include medical issues, further education, caring for family, layoffs, starting a business, or difficulty finding a job post-graduation.

What is the 3-step strategy to explain unemployment gaps on a resume? 

The strategy involves being clear but succinct, showing seriousness about returning to work, and emphasizing motivation and qualifications for the job.

How should longer unemployment gaps be addressed on a resume? 

For longer gaps, it's advised to add a brief explanatory note in the resume. For shorter gaps, listing years instead of months can subtly mask these gaps.

Can LinkedIn and cover letters be used to address unemployment gaps? 

Yes, using LinkedIn and cover letters to explain gaps allows for more detail, providing a narrative that might not fit within the resume format.

What are key tips for explaining unemployment gaps during an interview? 

In interviews, it's best to appear in-demand, be honest about the gap, and if it was for health reasons, be prepared to offer proof.

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