How to Address Experience and Employment Gaps

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Several kinds of gaps in your resume can make landing a new position more difficult. Experience gaps are differences between the skills and experience an employer desires and those demonstrated by your resume. Employment gaps show periods during which you didn’t have a job and can be interpreted negatively by hiring managers. Luckily, there are several ways you can address either kind of gap.

For experience gaps, you should focus on presenting the experience and skills you do have in a way that shows you’re qualified overall. You may face an uphill battle in doing so, but if you can properly explain how your experience in one industry relates to the needs of another, you may be able to make your experience gaps less of a problem.

The best solution for experience gaps is to fill them by obtaining relevant experience. Start by researching the field you want to enter to see where your gaps are. Then, begin taking classes, pursuing certificates, or volunteering so that you can replace the gaps in your resume with new items.

Employment gaps can be a little trickier. You can’t exactly go back in time and fill in those missing months, but you can find ways to minimize the negative impact of those gaps. Think about volunteer positions, short-term projects, or education that occurred during your unemployed periods. You can list any of those things on your resume to fill in the time between jobs. If you’re presently unemployed, start taking action right away so that you do have something job-related to put on your resume.

If you can’t close the employment gaps on your resume with volunteer work or education, you may be able to use a few tricks to make this downtime look better. Editing your resume to eliminate months can hide short periods of unemployment, and if you had a good reason for being unemployed, like taking time off to raise a family or care for a sick loved one, the employer may not be worried about the gap.

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