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Explain and Fix Employment Gaps

It can be stressful trying to figure out how to explain and fill gaps in your employment history. You don't want to look like a loser; you're not lazy. There were extenuating circumstances that caused these problems to occur. Now you have to deal with them, and fix them some way, the strategies on this page may help you to do that.

Employment Gaps Aren't Impossible to Cure

explain and fix employment gaps You want this great job, but you are afraid the employer will discover your employment gap and will pass you over for someone else with a solid work history. Two areas need to be addressed to mitigate this problem. One is to devise a way to disguise the gaps in your dates of employment. The second is to find some relevant information you can use to fill the date gap. None of these strategies involve deception, let's face it with the internet and information being so easy to discover, down the road the employer would probably discover a lie and fire you. Fix this problem ethically from the beginning, and you won't have to worry that these gaps will come back to bite you in the future.

How to Repair Employment Gaps

This guide describes several methods to counteract employment gaps. The methods include how to explain them, how to mitigate their appearance on your resume and how to plan for them in the future. Below we have addressed many common issues that cause these gaps. If your issue is not listed here, you should be able to gather strategies from similar problems and develop a new solution. If you expect to create a gap in the future, you can use some of these methods to formulate a plan to address it now, so you will have done what was needed to mitigate it. Starting your own business is also a route you might consider if you feel that working for someone else is something you don't want to do anymore.
  • Honesty Is the Best Policy
    When searching for a job, it is time to be truthful, lying on your resume or job application will uncover a worse gap, a gap in your character. Employers understand that people will make mistakes, things happen to us that we can't control, and we try to straighten out and improve ourselves. They know everyone embellishes their resume, but they will not trust someone who grossly lies. With social media and the ease at which employers can obtain the information, you will likely be found out and fired because of the deception. Always be ready with a reasonable answer as to why these things have happened to you on your resume, cover letter, and at the interview. If the problem is your fault, mention how and what you have learned from the experience and how you have grown from it. Don't just write about it without also writing about the lessons you learned.
  • List Dates Using Years Not Months
    If you write the years and skip the months you can cover a period of nearly two years without screaming, "Hello, I have been out of work for almost two years!" Here is an example of this method:

    Original: Dec 2016 - Jan 2017, Senior Web Designer, Resume4free.com
    Solution: 2016 - 2017, Senior Web Designer, Resume4free.com

    Now, this is an extreme example to prove our point. It would not be honest to try to say you worked for two years when you only worked for two months; the employer would probably think so too. The example does show how you can manipulate the dates so at least on the face of it; the gap isn't so apparent. Here we have glossed over 22 months of unemployment. You will, of course, truthfully explain any gaps you have.
  • You Got Laid Off - Restructuring
    Unfortunately an all too common misfortune, you work for a company, you do a good job, then you are called into the office and are given a pink slip. If you were laid off because of restructuring or a merger and you held a redundant position, then you weren't let go because you were inadequate, it wasn't your fault. Employers will understand how this can happen; it can happen to anyone. Some workers will find a new job before leaving the old one, so there will be no gap. If you don't find a new job, the solution is to keep yourself involved in your field either through volunteerism, by taking classes to add to your skill set or by taking contract work until something full-time becomes available. The main take away here is to not sit idly by waiting for a job to come to you, but to be proactive, to take the initiative, and to be a go-getter.
  • You Got Fired
    On the other hand if you were fired that probably was due to something you did wrong. Formulate an answer to explain what happened ahead of time in case the employer asks. Talk about your good points and the positive gains you made for the company. If you feel like your position is not so stable, how do you plan to mitigate being fired? Don't get fired in the first place, do your job properly, if you are unhappy at your current job, then stand fast; look for another job and leave. You will only hurt yourself if you get fired. Trying to get back at the company because you are unhappy is short-term thinking. If you don't like it there work somewhere else don't sabotage your future.
  • Your Cover Letter Can Explain the Gaps
    Your cover letter can be used to gently steer the employer's attention to key areas you wish to make known. Please don't write a whole paragraph about your issue; instead, carefully mention it as part of a larger topic. Don't specifically write about it either; then you will draw their attention directly to the issue which defeats your intention.
  • Caring for Children and Ill Family Members
    It is not unreasonable to expect that some people may be required to take care of children or family members that are ill or injured. Taking an extended leave of absence from the job scene can be mitigated by attempting to keep up with the skills required by your field. If you have the time, you can take online courses, involve yourself in industry trade groups, or get needed certifications. Attempt to keep your hand in your field. Write about what you did to keep up with your industry during this time. When you are ready to rejoin the workforce list this period as you would a job (which it is) with the start and end dates and what you did while you were off.

    Example: 2016 - 2017, Caregiver for an injured family member.
  • Incarceration
    This reason is similar to getting fired from a job. Employment applications ask questions about this too. Review the section on getting fired to get information about solutions to this issue.
When it is all said and done, the employer will either understand what has happened and will believe that you are a better person as a result, or they won't. All you can do is your best, you may not get this job, but with persistence, problems will eventually work themselves out though not always in the way we expect. You can get started using our Free Resume Creator and write yourself a compelling cover letter too.