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How to Address Employment Gaps on Your Resume

Employment Gaps.

Employment gaps can happen for a variety of reasons, from personal health issues to career breaks for raising children or further education. Addressing these gaps on your resume effectively is crucial to reassure potential employers of your readiness and suitability for the role. Here’s how to handle employment gaps on your resume with confidence and transparency.

Interview Tips

1. Be Honest and Upfront

Transparency: Always be honest about the reasons for your employment gaps. Attempting to hide or gloss over them can raise red flags with employers. Transparency builds trust and shows integrity.

Brief Explanation: You don’t need to go into great detail, but a brief, straightforward explanation can clarify the gap. For example, “Took a career break to care for a family member” or “Pursued further education.”

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2. Use a Functional Resume Format

Skills Focused: A functional resume format emphasizes skills and qualifications over chronological work history. This can be particularly effective if you have several or long employment gaps. Group your experience by skill sets and accomplishments rather than by job titles and dates.


  • Project Management
    • Led a team of 10 in developing and launching a new product line
    • Managed budgets and schedules to ensure project completion on time and within budget

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3. Incorporate Volunteer Work and Freelancing

Relevant Experience: Include any volunteer work, freelancing, consulting, or part-time roles you took on during your employment gap. These experiences can demonstrate your continued engagement with your industry and the maintenance of your skills.

Example: “Freelance Marketing Consultant, 2021-2022: Developed and executed marketing strategies for small businesses, resulting in a 15% increase in client acquisition.”

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4. Highlight Professional Development

Continued Learning: If you used your time away from traditional employment to further your education, learn new skills, or obtain certifications, make sure to highlight these in your resume. This shows employers that you were proactive about your professional growth even during your employment gap.

Example: “Completed coursework in Digital Marketing Strategy, 2022.”

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5. Create a “Career Break” Section

Structured Explanation: If the gap is significant, consider creating a dedicated “Career Break” section in your resume. This allows you to provide a clear, concise explanation without interrupting the flow of your work history.


  • Career Break (2019-2021)
    • Reason: Full-time caregiver for family member
    • Activities: Managed household finances, engaged in online courses for project management

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6. Address It in Your Cover Letter

Contextualization: Your cover letter is an excellent place to briefly explain your employment gaps and highlight how you remained productive during that time. This also allows you to provide more context than you might on your resume.

Example: “After a two-year career break to care for a family member, during which I completed a professional certification in project management, I am eager to bring my enhanced skills and renewed focus to a dynamic team.”

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7. Emphasize Achievements and Skills

Value Proposition: Focus on your achievements and the value you bring to the table. Strong accomplishments and a clear demonstration of your skills can outweigh concerns about employment gaps.

Example: “Successfully led a team to deliver a key project three months ahead of schedule, resulting in a 20% increase in client satisfaction.”

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8. Stay Positive

Positive Framing: Frame your employment gaps positively. Emphasize what you learned or achieved during that time, whether it was gaining new skills, handling personal challenges, or pursuing passions.

Example: “During my career break, I honed my time management and multitasking skills while handling significant personal responsibilities.”

9. Be Prepared to Discuss in Interviews

Interview Readiness: Be ready to discuss your employment gaps confidently during interviews. Prepare a concise, positive explanation and focus on how you’ve kept your skills sharp and why you’re a strong fit for the role now.

Example: “I took a two-year break to focus on personal development and further education. I’m now fully prepared and excited to apply my new skills in a professional setting.”

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10. Get Professional Help if Needed

Resume Experts: If you’re struggling to address employment gaps on your resume, consider seeking help from a professional resume writer or career coach. They can provide personalized advice and help you present your employment history in the best possible light.

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Addressing employment gaps on your resume with honesty, transparency, and a focus on your skills and achievements is key to reassuring potential employers of your suitability for the job. By strategically presenting your experiences and maintaining a positive outlook, you can turn potential red flags into opportunities to showcase your resilience and commitment to professional growth. Remember, many people experience employment gaps, and with the right approach, you can navigate them effectively and confidently.

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