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Home Empowerment How to Explain Time Gaps in Your Resume | Sam Havelock

How to Explain Time Gaps in Your Resume | Sam Havelock

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How to Explain Time Gaps in Your Resume | Sam Havelock
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Minding the gap.

Even the most effectively written resume will have what we call the “ghost years.” These are gaps in your professional profile, and many job seekers try to avoid mentioning these missing dates. When there are larger gaps in your resume, creating a custom type resume can help fill in the missing years and portray any experience you gained during this time.

The custom type resume format is often on the shorter side and highlights the most critical and relevant career choices you have made in your career, even during those ghost years. Custom formatting your resume to minimize the visibility of gaps in your employment history is not lying, and sometimes you can include what you did during those years. For example, if you spent the bulk of three years traveling around the world, include a segment on the different cultures you embraced and how this has strengthened your ability to relate to clients.

What you do not want to do is lie, because the HR manager will dig up the truth during a background and reference check. Even if you strongly believe the gaps in your resume are justified, putting false information or employment history will disqualify you from ever receiving a job offer from the company. The custom type resume can efficiently provide the explanation for gaps in employment.

Simply put, the custom type resume prioritizes relevant education and experience and best fits the applicant or seeker who has gaps in their work history or is new to the workforce.

Here are some practical tips to use when custom formatting your resume:

  • Put the dates in plain font instead of bold.
  • Use a smaller font size and do not highlight the years.
  • Start it off with a strong statement, a commanding summary, and highlight your career section.
  • You can opt to highlight your skills and qualifications at the top, followed by your chronological work history. These small design and formatting choices make a big difference.
  • Include every other experience or training gained during the gap. Ask yourself, “What did I learn during this time of my life?” and then translate that to your resume.
  • Whatever your reason for the gap, make sure that you are prepared to answer it truthfully when eventually raised during the interview.
  • Do not be afraid to tell the story behind your ghost years. You gained new experience and skills even if it wasn’t in a traditional work setting.