Honesty is the Best Policy When Explaining Resume Gaps

Published: Apr 30, 2015

For job seekers who have been out of the workforce for a prolonged period of time, crafting a relevant and eye-catching resume may seem daunting. This may drive some to try to mask gaps, or leave breaks in employment unexplained. Our experts advise job seekers to be as open and honest as possible when explaining a prolonged absence from the workforce – no matter what.

Address Gaps Head-On

According to Jackie Ducci, president of New York boutique recruitment firm Ducci & Associates, the best and most effective way for those who are reentering the workforce to explain periods of unemployment is to be upfront and truthful. “It is always best to address a gap in employment head-on,” Ducci advises. “Hiring managers are more likely to respect a candidate who confronts these issues in an authentic way, rather than ignoring it or coming up with excuses or long winded stories. I have actually found that hiring managers tend to be forgiving of resume gaps, assuming there is a good reason for them and a candidate is otherwise a strong fit for the position for which they are applying.” Ducci says a candidate who explains a period of unemployment in a sincere way is much more attractive than a candidate who tries to hide or mask their unemployment history.

Explain the Gap

Jeremiah Patterson, HR business partner at Stamford, CT-based commodities trading firm Noble Americas, encourages job seekers to be open about what they did during their time away from the workforce, advising job seekers to put this information on the resume itself. Patterson has even seen job seekers list “Domestic Engineer” as a part of their professional experience to account for the time they were a stay at home parent. “You aren’t alone, and from my perspective it doesn’t make you stand out negatively at all. It just helps tell your story,” Patterson says.

Whatever You Do, Do Not Lie

According to Brian Rhonemus, managing director at Michigan-based executive search firm Angott Search Group, any falsities presented by a candidate will be discovered as part of the background check process. “Background and reference checks are more sophisticated today than ever, and it is much easier to check online sources to confirm a candidate’s employment history,” Rhonemus cautions. Rhonemus further warns that pretending to be part of a larger reduction in force is also something that will be uncovered. “If the person was fired and they try to use the ‘laid off’ excuse for leaving when no one else was released, that raises suspicions with all hiring managers. Being honest will serve a candidate much better, even if the candidate was terminated,” Rhonemus says.

Our experts were clear – gaps in employment history will not deter them from considering a candidate for a position, but these same experts say they will not pursue candidates who are dishonest about periods of unemployment.

Happy Hunting,

The AllCountyJobs.com Team

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