If you have ever been to London you hear repeated announcements reminding you to “mind the gap” as you navigate The Tube. While it is helpful advice, minding the gaps of your resume can significantly impact your job search.
Life happens. Candidates end up with gaps on their resumes for a variety of reasons – some under their control and others completely out of their control. What is a job seeker to do?
Be Prepared – Many interviewers will be drawn to the gaps on a resume and are likely to ask you directly about it. If you are prepared to address the gap, it will likely not be perceived as an issue. However if you fumble through a weak explanation, it tends to raise more questions than it addresses. Have your story ready. Focus on any positives that came out of this experience.
Be Honest – Do not list starting your own consulting company in the gap unless you actually did that. If you never had a client, you never had a consulting firm. Be honest and own the gap. Employers do employment verification and background checks. If you own the gap it is often not an issue. If you misrepresent it, your integrity is then questioned and you could easily lose the job.
Do Not Bash A Former Company or Manager – Positively explain your gap without maligning a former company or manager. Sure it stinks that they laid you off after two years of positive reviews. It likely had nothing to do with your performance but more the cost structure of the company. If you talk about what a jerk your manager was to eliminate your job, it raises a red flag about how you interacted with your manager. Be honest but frame it as positively as possible. Things happen. Differentiate yourself by how your respond to those things you can’t control