Having date gaps within your professional career does not have to be the end of the world. There can be many reasons why this would occur, ranging from family issues to a depressed job market. But regardless of the reason for the gaps, the goal for your resume writer remains the same:
FOCUS THE READER ON THE POSITIVES AND AWAY FROM THE NEGATIVES!
When it comes to writing your resume, we have several strategies for minimizing the impact of unfavorable date gaps within the resume.
- First, you want to ensure that the reader does not visually pick up on the dates before selling them on the other things you have to offer. So in a case such as this, you would refrain from bolding and isolating your dates over to the right margin as most people normally do.
- Another strategy involves going the “hard-sell” route prior to the professional experience being accessed. This is done by ensuring the executive summary area is as strong and visually imposing as possible to thoroughly convince the reader of the qualifications before they ever get to the date gap. The idea is to have the first impression get you over the top enough to get the interview.
- Of course, if the gap is large enough that document placement strategy won’t do the trick, you can always address the gap in the cover letter if the reason is one you feel the reader will readily understand. I am personally not a big fan of this approach unless the resume simply cannot be configured well enough to divert the reader’s attention away from it.
- Also, consider not including the months of employment and simply go with a “YYYY” format. This is the most effective way to hide multi-month gaps that occur within the same calendar year.
As with any resume weakness, date gaps can be neutralized with some well-conceived planning from content and visual standpoints. If you are strong in other areas, then play them up as much as possible so that they can see a reason to bring you in to discuss it. Getting in the door is your goal with the resume. You can then proceed to sell them on the rest of you!