How to talk about the gaps in your resume

We are in a moment, for however long it lasts, when people are rethinking their priorities about work. One of the benefits of this reassessment, dubbed “The Great Resignation” or “The Big Quit,” is that there’s more respect and a lot less stigma for the idea of taking time off to reflect. From my clients who are in between jobs, I hear about the unexpected benefits of having added hours in the day to take part in activities for which they were struggling to make time. For some that’s tending to young children or aging parents, while others appreciate finally getting around to tackling much-needed home repairs.

Mind the gaps

As you consider the gaps in your resume and wonder how to explain them to a hiring manager, or even during casual networking meetings, consider the off-the-job related accomplishments that you’ve been able to achieve. Maybe you’ve recently volunteered at a food bank, taken a certification class to brush up on your skills, assembled an IKEA bookcase, planted seeds for a spring garden, or finally initiated an exercise program to better your health. 

Add up the accomplishments

Do what I call an accomplishment debrief, and deconstruct in granular detail all that it took to participate in the activity – whether it’s taking care of family members, or running a marathon.

What traits did it take to get it done?

Where did you have to dig deep?

What made you particularly suited for the task?

And though I can appreciate binge-watching all the episodes you’ve missed of The Sopranos, make sure it’s a project in which you took an active part. And then build the case for the transferable skills involved, and how it’s another reflection of your determination, focus and core strengths.

Tell your story

Every professional journey has its lumps and bumps. But even the gaps in your resume can be integrated into a story of resilience and talent. I love helping job seekers tell their stories Please get in touch for 1-1 support.

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