Professional Resume Writing 101-11

Professional Resume Writing – Time Gaps

Most professional resume styles include a chronological list of jobs beginning with the most recent and progressing backwards over a reasonable number of years. Employment dates are prominent so it is important that there are no time gaps between positions.

Some minor time gaps will not need to be addressed as you will not specify the month on your resume, only the year. For those time gaps that cannot be ignored, an explanation will be required to fill in the dates on your resume. Do not think you can hide it or that it will be ignored. It will be recognized as a questionable, unexplained time gap. It may be reason enough for the decision maker to eliminate you from the competition. Filling in the time gap with an explanation will be received more positively as shown in the following two examples:

1. You were laid off from a position and decided to take that opportunity to renovate your home. Be positive! You made a decision and stuck to it even though your husband wanted you back to work and your children were not happy with the major intrusion to their living quarters. You displayed the drive, confidence and talents necessary to successfully complete the job.

Home Renovations, Contractor                                              2002 -2003

  • Negotiated contracts with all sub contractors to renovate and restore 50 year old, 4 bedroom home.
  • Monitored schedules to meet all time lines with plumbers and electricians.
  • Completed all design work, purchasing of all materials and participated full time with painting and minor renovations.
  • Saved $50,000 by independently subcontracting the work.

2. After having a second baby you decided to take time out of your job search to stay home and raise your children on a full time basis. Be positive! This was your decision to make and despite pressure from some of your friends who chose to work full time and raise their children, you stood by your decision. You provided exceptional care for your children and became involved in a variety of educational programs and volunteer work.

Home, Full time Mother                                                             2004 – 2007

  • Provided full time care for my two children.
  • Participated in a variety of educational programs for under school age children.
  • Volunteered time to support many community initiatives.
  • Recognized by the community for exceptional fund raising efforts to support the purchase of new playground equipment.
  • Saved $40,000 in full-time day care costs by taking time out of the workforce. 

If you are concerned about too many time gaps or are an obvious “job-hopper”, you may want to decide against a chronological resume as it will only accentuate the employment dates. By choosing a functional style resume, you will be able to focus on your skills rather than the vast number of individual jobs.

Elite ResumesDo you need professional resume advice? Would you be interested in a free resume critique from a Certified Professional Resume Writer? Call 905-825-0490 or email your resume.

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