Filling in Holes in Your Resume

When it comes to your resume, gap management may be the difference between getting an interview and not being called in at all. Holes in resumes that do not get addressed properly will be filled in with the imagination of those reading your CV and quite often, that which people imagine is far worse than the truth.

If your resume shows extended periods of time wherein you were not a member of the workforce, it is critical that you control how those gaps are addressed. Regardless of whether or not you choose to address these breaks in employment on paper, via the resume itself, or in person, during the interview, you will always want to have a clear and concise explanation for the hole.

An overall strategy for addressing the problem is to keep in mind that the person who is reading your resume is indeed a human being and has, in all likelihood, been in a similar situation at some point in his/her employment history. Some of the reasons for employment gaps could include the following: 

  • Relocation
  • Family obligations - the need to care for a loved one
  • Medical - maternity/paternity leave
  • Personal - attending school on a full-time basis for upgrading your skill set
  • Travel

Regardless of the reason, it is best that you be honest. Taking the route of honesty will make you human and communicate your ability to use good judgment and your ability to prioritize needs.

If however, you simply lost your job and just could not get another one for whatever the reason, you may be able to turn this misfortune into a potential benefit for your future employer. By suggesting that it was always your intention to take your time to find the 'right' job or career opportunity rather than 'any' job that will just pay the bills until you find something more suited to your skill set you are again demonstrating the importance you place on the ideal employee/employer relationship.

Remember that every part of your resume should be a positive statement about you. It is never necessary to tarnish your reputation by exaggerating or embellishing your accomplishments. More often, it is just a matter of getting the help of a good wordsmith.

Resumes that do not draw attention to your strengths, experience and education/training serve limited or no purpose. Resumes should focus on your accomplishments. Remember that accomplishments can exist anywhere. Accomplishments and the skills you have learned while doing volunteer work are just as valid as in your paid work experience.

Know that there is no such thing as the 'perfect' resume or the 'perfect' candidate and that you should never be embarrassed by the choices you made. The key to success is to present yourself in a better light than the other candidates who are looking for the same job or career opportunity.

© Salvino 01152009

Mary Salvino MBA is a freelance writer and career/business consultant who lives in Vancouver, BC. She has decades of experience in all aspects of retail management and is a valuable resource to both corporations and individuals in the area of strategic planning.