3 Ways to Explain Gaps on Your Resume and Get the Job

3 Ways to Explain Gaps on Your Resume and Get the Job

Gaps in your resume should not hurt your application. But they can sometimes hinder your application due to how you explain them to prospective employers. These gaps, or career pauses, can be due to myriad reasons. Ranging from education to care work for your loved ones or even personal health reasons that can sometimes leave you feeling stalled in your career.   

Sometimes this loss of momentum can induce feelings of frustration, fear, and confusion. These feelings are valid, and recognizing them can help you not only navigate as you re-enter the workforce. But also be able to concisely share the reasons for the gap with your prospective employer.    

Remember that some companies may view candidates with long gaps as flight risks or unemployable. They may even question your potential as an employee, and this is due to the present unemployment biases. However, there is a silver lining – in 2022, the long-term unemployment rate decreased to 18.5% from 34.8% in September 2021.    

This decrease shows that candidates are acquiring jobs despite their career gaps. So how can you, as a candidate, use your career breaks to get back into the employment industry?   

To paint a better picture of how candidates with career breaks are being hired, here are the three Rs of career breaks.  

The Three Rs of Career Breaks    

Career breaks can be tricky because recruiters and hiring managers may have reservations about moving your application further. Use these aspects as an opportunity to reframe your professional narrative and get yourself hired:    


Many take time off their careers to have adventures and do side projects. When it comes to professional development, you can use these adventures and side projects to better your job applications according to their relevance to the job you are applying to.    

Other interests pursued during a gap year can range from traveling the world to exposing oneself to different cultures and perspectives. Your intercultural experiences can help you become a fantastic candidate, as diversity is essential in the hiring process.   

Side projects are also important because they can lead to project management careers. Depending on the success and lessons from these side projects, communicating your growth while pursuing these adventures and side projects can be a great add-on during your job applications.    

Read more: Our Best LinkedIn Profile Tips (From a Pro)    


For some, the reason for having the resume gap can be due to care work. Many are taking time off to either care for their children or elderly parents and, in other cases, due to personal health reasons.     

But always remember that a career break can be an experience of resilience. Not only for people who had to leave their jobs to care for others or themselves but for all who became unemployed due to company bankruptcies or recessions.   

Keep in mind that many people could also be experiencing your struggles. Build or join a community that could provide you with support outside of your immediate family. This could help you take a step back, get a brighter perspective, and feel energized to jump right back into the work pool.    

You should also be honest and open with prospective employers about the time you took, as it will show your resilience. This may help you push forward in your application, as resilience is an excellent quality to have as an employee.   


You can be someone who felt your previous career and position were not what you envisioned or what you want to pursue anymore. Taking a career break can give you the time, space, and clarity you need to rebrand your career.    

In this period, you can decide to upskill to rebrand your career. Either learn something completely different from your present profession. Or add on to the skills you presently have. This will give you the clarity you need, whether you want to move on from your career or change employers.   

Empowering yourself through new skills can help recruiters and hiring managers assess your fit for any openings they may find when you decide to rejoin the employment industry.    

After you have had these experiences, how can you translate them into your resume to aid in your job application process?  

Ways to Explain Career Gaps in Resume    

Career gaps may feel difficult to explain during interviews. Whatever the reason, remember to be brave and know that communicating these gaps is manageable. Here are some tips you can use:   

1. Have a solid narrative and end on a positive note    

The decision to take a career break may be challenging to grapple with at first. But knowing your reasons and having a solid narrative can help your recruiters, especially when interacting with your prospective employers.   

Avoid blaming anyone, especially your previous employer, for the employment gap. The practice of blaming can extend to your new workplace and can decrease the confidence your new employer may have in you. Keep in mind that “blame culture” is toxic and can leave the wrong impression, which will affect your ability to land your next job.    

Tara Orchard, a Career, Business, and Outplacement Coach, says, “Fortune favors the bold but not reckless.” In your career gap narrative, make sure that you highlight the lessons you learned and the positive outcomes they brought to you.    

Read More: How to Make Even the Most Boring Career Story Exciting In An Interview    

2. Highlight your potential and accomplishments    

When submitting your resume, do not evade your career gaps. Instead, use these gaps to speak on the relevant experiences you acquired during your career gap that corresponds to the job you are applying for. Focus on your potential and accomplishments rather than the negatives that come with career gaps.   

To do this, ask yourself; What skills have you acquired during your gap that your potential employer may need? Are those skills transferrable? If they are, how are they transferrable? And after figuring all of this out, clearly articulate it in your resume.   

Remember your value and allow others to see it. Your employment gap does not diminish your value as a person or professional. Ground yourself into your value and emphasize your potential as an employee.   

3. Prepare with a Career Strategist and Specialist    

A career expert’s guidance can help you edit your resume and practice your answers for an interview. Consider working with a recruiter who can also match you with ideal employers who value your experiences.    

Sweta Regmi, a Career and Resume Strategist, recommends partnering with recruiters as they have insider information and employment industry experience. Navigating the job market after an employment gap may become confusing and tricky. Depending on your employment gap, a career strategist and recruiter can help you acquire the job of your dreams despite the gap in your career.  

Focus People is the Career Strategist you need to get that job!    

Focus People provides a staffing experience that fosters excellence. We understand the specific qualities and talents necessary to partner with our candidates and clients.    

We will guide you to communicate your employment gap to your advantage. Our career experts will strategize with you in navigating your way back to employment. We want you to feel empowered and use your employment gap to showcase your resilience in this ever-changing job market. Contact us today!  

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