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Gaps between jobs in résumé

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in Hiring,Human Resources

Q. I’m job-hunting. I am well qualified for the positions I’m applying for, but there’s one problem: I have a few gaps in my résumé over the past five years when I took time off for various personal reasons. I’m concerned that these gaps hurt my chances of getting in the door. What can I do?

A. The gaps probably mean far more to you than they do to potential employers. In today’s hot job market, hiring managers are hardly in a position to reject an otherwise qualified candidate because of some unexplained employment gaps. If they care, they’ll probably ask.

Your résumé need not provide a blow-by-blow account of your job history. Instead, it should demonstrate your qualifications in clear, concrete terms.

But here are two cosmetic changes you can make that may give you more peace of mind. First, take out the month when you list your length of stay at your past jobs. Most employers don’t care about the month anyway—they just want a rough idea of how long you stayed at each place. Second, replace the subheading “Work Experience” with “Related Experience.” This way, you soften the gap by only including positions that are related to the one you seek. Hiring managers appreciate that; they favor candidates who choose only what’s relevant.

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