What is a job seeker to do if there are gaps in your resume? This occurs most often when there is a break between employers. Gaps often jump right out at the hiring manager reviewing the resume so prepare in advance to addresses these issues.
Honesty is always the best policy. Honesty is not just the best policy but the only policy when it comes to your resume. It is a factual history of your employment and is subject to verification in background checks. Just the facts please. Do not embellish or leave things off because you’d rather not talk about them.
Years vs. months. Job seekers often draw unwarranted attention to their gaps by listing each employment by month. It is perfectly acceptable on a resume to list years only. This allows short gaps to go undetected. You may have to provide specific months on an application later in the process but you haven’t drawn undue attention to it early in the process.
Be prepared. Be prepared with a response to the question about the gap. If it is there, someone will ask about it in an interview. Address the gap honestly without focusing on the negatives or being defensive. Talk about what you did during the gap. Did you volunteer? Enhance a skill? Take a class? Be prepared to address the issue head on.
Don’t rewrite history. Because it is critical to be honest, don’t create an alternative universe where the situation was very different. It is what it is. It happened. Be honest but do so in a way that is positive, professional and forward focused. Do not be defensive. If you were laid off, do not blame others. Just state that the company was facing challenging times, reorganizing, etc. depending on the situation. Often less is more when it comes to explaining the speed bumps in your career.