While the actual unemployment rate is notoriously difficult to find, one thing is certain: many people, through a period of unemployment in some points in their lives. And these holes not only make it difficult to pay bills in the meantime ̵
The dreaded "employment gap" on your resume can be a red flag for potential employers wondering what you were up to during that time. But it doesn't have to be a red flag. If you know the right approach, you can use your CV to explain your experience – even the gaps – in a way that shows you are the ideal candidate for the job.
How can you use the CV to explain unemployed periods? How to spin it to get the job you want.
Fill your gaps wisely
If you find yourself unemployed, now or in the future, this is a great time to fill that gap with a productive experience that you can take on your resume.
There are many ways to promote your career or skills without having a job. Take the time to volunteer in your business or sign up for a free online course to expand your skills area. Now you have relevant experience that you can add to your CV in the period when you were unemployed.
If you can, you can add the date of this non-work experience when you show it on your resume (for example, giving the date of completion for your online course). That way, you can signal to potential employers that even when you didn't officially work, you still worked on your career.
Release Your Dates
If you already have past employment gaps that you didn't fill with other valuable experience, you can still make them less prominent on your CV. Consider posting your dates in a way that is a little more flexible. Instead of listing the month and the year you started and finished each job, just list the year. That way, even if you were unemployed for several months in a year, it won't be obvious.
If you have a chronological CV format, your employment dates (and any gaps in them) will be in front and middle. If you change to a functional or hybrid CV, push that information down the page or get rid of it completely.
You can place other information, such as your valuable skills, at the top of the page. Focusing on the value you bring to the table first can lessen a sharp work-historical gap.
You have many opportunities to hide work history gaps on your resume. However, do not resort to justice. It's too easy to be caught by a lie when asked about it in your interview, which will inevitably cost you the job. In addition, with so many options to explain or hide periods of unemployment on your resume, you really do not need to lie.
Label It a “Sabbatical”
One way to solve holes in the CV is to be as clear and straightforward as possible. If you want, you can enter the availability dates in the work history section under the label "Professional Sabbatical." This indicates that you have deliberately spent time away from work without going into details.
Use the cover letter
Whether you enter a Sabbath day on your resume or use another method to handle the gap, you can use the cover letter to answer questions your employer might have. For example, you can briefly mention that you were away from work for months to care for an aging parent, or to spend some time backpacking in Europe. Even better, try to mention something you learned from the non-working hours that will help you in the job you are applying for.
In many industries, employment holes are more common than they used to be. And despite the difficulties of unemployment, these gaps can also be beneficial – they give you a great opportunity to explore contract work, recover from burnout, educate yourself, or donate your time to a good cause. As you build your resume, try to focus on the positive things that you did in that gap, and signal potential employers that you are a focused worker who always spends his time wisely.
Next, learn how to customize your resume for every job you apply for.