When looking for the right sample resume for John or Jane Doe, you have probably noticed that these resumes never have any gaps in them and seem perfect. Luckily, that’s rarely the case in reality. Most people have experienced times in their lives where they’ve not been on a completely straight career path. It may even have gone somewhat off course. So don’t worry at all if you’re getting your resume ready and you realize the time off you took between finishing high school and starting college doesn’t exactly fall into the categories of education or professional experience.
HR managers consider any free time between career stages that lasts more than two months to be a gap. If you can’t explain this period on your resume with an internship, a part-time job, advanced training or education, this will be considered a gap.
The HR manager will no doubt notice if there are a few gaps in your resume when you apply for a job. But that’s always better than lying. The truth may come out later in the interview or, even worse, after you’ve started your new job. That’s why it’s best to be honest when compiling your resume and list the exact dates you spent in education and working – even if this means you took a break of more than two months between both high school and college and college and graduate school.
It’s really important to present yourself authentically to a company when applying for a job. An uninterrupted resume is a dream scenario and you shouldn’t base your own application on it. If you spent time abroad, changed majors or schools or quit an apprenticeship, you’re leaving out an important part of your professional career. These periods may have been full of personal growth or you may have learned a lot.
So just correctly offer up all of the relevant details stating the month and year. Any tricks you may use, like adding 2015 – Internship at XY, are not enough, and they’ll alert the HR manager to keep a weather eye out for inconsistencies in your resume.
If you’ve taken time off between jobs, start by being honest when compiling your resume and offer correct information on all of the jobs you’ve held, the experience you’ve gained and the dates. The best case scenario is that your resume is followed up by an interview with the company, where you can take the opportunity to directly address any gaps in your resume and explain them.
Take some time before the interview to figure out the best way to explain these gaps and how they’ve impacted your career. For example, time abroad might have helped you improve your language skills, changing majors allowed you to refocus and start researching a new field of study and periods of unemployment may have allowed you to undergo further training and look for a new job.
It’s important that these gaps are not filled with lazing about. So make clear what exactly you did during this free time and how it helped you grow. HR managers will enjoy hearing about it, makes you come across as personable and shows that you are able to learn, even during difficult phases in your career.
Authenticity and reflection about your own career are so important when writing your resume, and help you score points in interviews. Use our tips and you’re sure to succeed. We wish you the best of luck in writing your resume and in the interview that follows!
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