How to explain gaps in your resume

How to explain gaps in your resume
21 Jul

With the recent downturn in banking resulting in reduced headcount. It’s no surprise then that how to explain gaps in your resume is a question we’re asked often.

In the last 6 months many bankers at Director level and above have found themselves out of work. Many more people in their 40’s and 50’s face the uncomfortable prospect of looking for work without the comfort of being in a job.

Beyond above there are many reasons why gaps appear in resumes, family care, education, time out to enjoy life, shared parental care as well as helping out in family business. Today people are taking sabbatical’s more often and throughout their career.

No matter what your reason, it’s how and when you explain your sabbatical that matters most.

How to explain gaps in your resume

Here’s what you need to know.

Get on the front foot and explain as early as possible. First impressions count and in this case your first impression may be:

Your resume.

  • A resume should be self explanatory leaving the reader with no questions aside from assessment of skills and motivations. Learn more about resume here. 


  • What concerns most people is what to publish on linkedin particularly if they have been laid off. Your linkedin profile should reflect your professional history and mirror your resume. If you’ve been given 3 months gardening leave your end date should reflect that. If you don’t wish to publish the reason for the gap or end date then emphasise your availability and include a strong punchy value statement. Reinforce your value by asking colleagues, leaders and customers for a recommendation published on Linkedin.

People expect what they read on linkedin or a resume to be correct. When you point out it’s not you lose credibility. Don’t make this mistake particularly in an industry where integrity is assessed on everything you do.

If you have taken time off to care for family, study or start your own business or even travel, they’re all good reasons in themselves. Keep the conversation on the responsibilities you’ve had during your employment and give reasons for sabbatical. Hiring managers want assurance that you’re ready to work and prepared to do the job. If you can genuinely get this across, you’re doing well. 

If your unemployment status is more complicated and you prefer to explain reasons for gaps, do so the first change you get. Stay present, tell your story prepared to engage in the conversation that follows.

Power of positive thinking

Never bash your previous employer under any circumstance, it never sound good. Prepare yourself for the question “Why did you leave your past job?” Answer tactfully. Use every opportunity you can to demonstrate learnings from past experience, good and bad. Highlight the reasons why this job is right for you will reassure the hiring manager of your motivations.

Finally, from their perspective, they have a vacant role to fill and need a reliable and capable person motivated to trust, prove that and your home.

In closing, tackle the challenges up front and you’ll find that when you explain gaps in your resume it won’t penalise you in your job search.


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Craig Michilis

Craig Michilis

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