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How to Explain Gaps in Employment

female jumping over a physical employment gap in the school or workforce
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by Jobtrees Team

Did you know that employment gaps are very common? Explaining gaps in employment is an important part of the job search process. There are various ways to address gaps in your employment history, depending on the situation and the reason for the gap. No matter what your situation is, it's best to address gaps honestly and proactively.

Here are some things to consider when addressing gaps in employment:

Be honest: It's important to be upfront and honest about your employment gaps. Honesty is the best policy when it comes to explaining gaps in employment. It’s important to provide a clear and concise explanation for the gap. If you took time off to travel, raise a family, or pursue further education, personal or health issues, or a job loss, explain this honestly and confidently to potential employers. It's important to show that you have been productive during your time away and that you have gained valuable skills and experiences that can be applied to the job you are seeking.

Focus on the positive: If you used the time to learn new skills or take courses, be sure to highlight this in your explanation. Employers appreciate candidates who take initiative to learn and improve themselves.

Emphasize your accomplishments: If you have been out of work for a while, focus on the accomplishments and skills you gained from your previous positions, as well as any volunteer work or projects you worked on during your time away. This can help demonstrate your value to potential employers and show that you are still engaged and active in your field.

Use a functional resume format: A functional resume format can be a useful way to highlight your skills and accomplishments, rather than focusing on a chronological employment history. This can help de-emphasize any gaps in your work history and put the focus on your abilities and achievements. Compare the best resume help sites out there, like Jobscan. 

Address the gap(s) proactively: If you anticipate that a potential employer may have concerns about a gap in your employment history, address it proactively in your cover letter or during the interview. Briefly explain the reason for the gap and emphasize how you have continued to stay engaged and productive during this time. 


I understand that my resume shows a gap in my employment history from [Date] to [Date], and I wanted to address this proactively. During this time, I took a break from my career to focus on [family responsibilities, including caring for a sick relative]. Although I was not employed during this time, I remained engaged and active in my field by [attending professional development events and volunteering with local organizations].

While this was a challenging time for me, I believe that it has provided me with valuable skills and experiences that I can bring to this role. I am a strong [problem solver and communicator], and I am able to adapt quickly to changing situations. I have a passion for [Specific Skills or Industry], and I am eager to apply my skills and experience to this role. 

Be confident: Gaps in employment are common and often unavoidable. Be confident in your abilities and the experiences you have gained, and focus on your strengths and accomplishments rather than any perceived weaknesses.

Be prepared to answer questions: During an interview, you may be asked about any gaps in your employment history. Be prepared to answer these questions in a concise and honest manner.

Remember, honesty is the best policy. Be upfront about any employment gaps in your employment history. By explaining the reason for the gap and focusing on the positive(s), you can show potential employers that you are proactive and responsible. Addressing the gap in your coverletter and being prepared to answer questions during an interview can also help to ease concerns and demonstrate your commitment to your career. 

 Find help writing your cover letter or polishing up your resume format here.