How to explain a gap in your résumé

Featuring Beth A. Berk, CPA, CGMA, independent recruiter


Video transcript:

The best way to explain a gap on a résumé is to explain it. So from a continuity standpoint, if you took off three months, a year, two years, five years, whatever the situation is and the circumstances, there’s various ways to describe and be very brief about it, a brief description such as a family sabbatical, or you put in a bullet in saying family sabbatical, took time off to care for a sick relative. It’s OK to disclose that. That’s real life. That happens all the time, it could happen to anybody, but it does show that you did something during the time frame from the gaps of the dates on your résumé. If you took off time to attend school or to travel overseas, join the Peace Corps, whatever it is that you did, to study for the CPA Exam, you should disclose that as well, and it doesn’t matter for how long that period of time is, but it should be disclosed in some shape or form.

If a brief one-liner or two-liners doesn’t do it justice, to explain more you could put a little asterisk during that one-liner and put a little note either at the bottom of your résumé on the first or second page, maybe in a smaller font, italicize, explaining it a little bit more in detail. There have been times where people have had to go back overseas to help a family member or deal with a situation and then come back, and maybe it requires more than just a family sabbatical to explain scenarios where it’s very possible that you would have loved to have worked and stayed at your job, or why you left your prior job due to that circumstance, versus just leaving it blank and making somebody assume why you haven’t worked during that time, and then most likely if they assume, it’s not going to be to your advantage.

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