Addressing Two-Year Employment Gap


This posting is a guest entry from the Career Doctor, Randall S. Hansen, PhD: J.R. writes: I have a 2-year employment gap on my resume. I took some personal time off for mental recuperation, but I know I can’t say this in an interview. How can I fill this gap or make it look somewhat better?
The Career Doctor responds: I would suggest a two-pronged approach — one for your resume and one for your interviews. On your resume: I would suggest that you consider converting your chronological resume to a chrono-functional format. Chrono-functional resumes focus on your accomplishments in key skills areas; your employment history is summarized at the end of your resume — and gaps become less apparent. You can read more about functional resumes in Should You Consider a Functional Resume? In the interview: It’s best to position this employment gap as time well-spent on improving or challenging yourself. If you took some educational courses (or even just read a lot), you should focus on the attainment of new skills and knowledge; if you volunteered your services, you should focus on your accomplishments; and if you did some consulting, you should focus on the gap as a time to spread your wings and try to make it on your own. As you can tell from these examples, you need to position the gap as having some redeeming value — besides improving your mental health. Finally, remember that while you are self-conscious about the gap, some interviewers may never even notice it … so don’t volunteer potentially negative information; wait for the employer to raise the issue before offering an explanation.