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Explaining Employment Gaps in Your Résumé (VIDEO)


In this video, Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter discusses how to explain how to discuss the gap in your employment history.


Today, let's talk about how to deal with that gap in your resume . . . You know, that time in your background were took you 5 months, 8 months, 7 months . . . whatever it is to find a new position 3 years ago. How do you deal with that interruption your experience?

Some people have this silly idea that they are supposed to lie and cover it up. I must in all honesty tell you it doesn't work anymore. Employers are cooperating with one another and do background checks post-employment (after you join their firm). They will send a note to your previous employer and say, "So, Jane told us in their application that you work for your firm for such and such period of time. Does that seem somewhat accurate?" If they find inconsistency in your job application, it is grounds for termination. They can't keep you on board because, frankly, lying can get them into trouble.

Imagine for a 2nd that you are employed by them and commit some sort of crime. For example, you work on Wall Street and trade grandma's life savings down to zero. Can you imagine what happens when a lawyer gets a hold of the firm and asks, "you knew he lied on his employment application and you still kept them on board!" How do you think that would play out in the courts?

Employers have a very simple policy. They will terminate you. They will terminate you without any warning whatsoever. What they will do is meet you at your desk with security and hand you a box with your personal things and send you on your way. You don't want that to happen. Here's how you deal with it.

When you have a gap in your background, you use the cover email that you send your resume in (these are like the old cover letteyrs people use to mail the resume with. Today, that is the message area of your email) to sell yourself.

You might write in the cover email, "I'm forwarding my resume to you because I was recommended by so-and-so, you told me that your position for such and such." Or, you might say, "I saw your ad on such and such site that told me that you trying to hire such and such type of person. "

The 2nd paragraph my talk about your qualifications and how your background fits the role. The 3rd 1 might say something like, "you may notice my job history that for years ago I was unemployed for 6 months. During that time, the on the economy was terrible and they found it difficult to find work. Ultimately, I was able to land a job with another organization. "

Or, you might just simply say, "I had an injury at that time. I was in a car accident and had surgery. It was impossible for me to work." Or you might talk about how you assisted your dying mom during the last 6 months of her life. These are pretty common stories that employer hears.

Another one that they here is, "I took a package to leave my organization. I decided that I had not had a lengthy vacation since I was in college and decide to take 4 months to travel in China before coming back and resuming my career." What ever it is, do that in the 3rd paragraph and then come back and sell yourself in the remainder of the cover email.

This is the easiest way to deal with the gap in your background. Then, you have to remember what you told them in your email. So when you meet with them in person and raise the subject, they are looking for consistency. Thus, if you talk about that vacation that you took, you say, "I know a lot of people would find it difficult to believe, it was 1 of the great 4 months of my life. I love my work, but it was an opportunity to travel. I had money in the bank and decide to take advantage of this time." You just speak to them in a way that sounds absolutely sincere.

This is the easiest way to deal with the gap in the background.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves life coaching, as well as executive job search coaching and business life coaching. He is the host of “Job Search Radio” and “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” both available through iTunes and Stitcher.

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