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How to Explain a Resume Gap to Employers

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Life happens and for one reason or another, you may end up with an employment gap on your resume. To be successful at explaining the gap, you might want to spend time reflecting on what led to the gap and what you did next. Craft a story that connects what you learned to what you are expected to do in the roles you are targeting. The onus is on you to bridge the gap, but feel free to consult a trusted friend or mentor and practice the story.

An employment gap won't automatically disqualify you as a candidate, but it is viewed as a red flag. It represents a big unknown, and employers are interested in finding out what the gap means in your case. “They may either be concerned that you were terminated for poor performance or that you may give up too easily when things don't go your way," says Lily Boyer, associate director of coaching and education at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. You can't control what preconceptions an employer comes with when seeing a gap on your resume, but you can control the way in which you explain it. One thing is certain: You don't want to ignore the gap. Approach the issue from the employer's perspective. You know they are curious about the gap, so address it: On your resume, in your cover letter and during the interview.

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