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Ready to Re-Enter the Workforce? 5 Ways to Address Career Gaps on Your Resume and Get Hired


The pandemic has impacted employment in a variety of ways. This is especially true for men of color and Black men in particular. According to an employment report by the Brookings Institution, there was a 4 percent decrease in employment for Black males from 2020 to 2021.

Within the past two years, thousands of men of color have dropped out of the workforce due to layoffs or to pursue other ventures. Now that companies are competing for new talent, many men are open to the idea of pursuing new job opportunities after career breaks.

If you have a gap in your career history, you may be afraid that it could reduce your chances of getting a job. It may surprise you to learn that employers aren’t as concerned with resumé gaps as you would think—provided you address them. Here are five ways to address career gaps on your resume.

1. Reorganize your resume’s structure.

When people think about career gaps on resumes, they typically picture a large white space or a clear absence of information that would cause an employer to instantly dismiss them. In reality, it isn’t quite that dramatic.

Without being dishonest, make the employment gap less noticeable. Try:

  • Changing the date format from month and year to the year only.
  • Noting any volunteer or temporary work you conducted during the period, no matter how informal or brief.
  • Including a brief statement on your resume that explains the gap. Just format it on your resume like any other employment.

2. Prepare a concise explanation of the career gap before the interview.

Your resumé is not the place to go into depth about why you weren’t working for a year. Prepare an explanation and provide details during the interview – only if the hiring manager asks about it.

Common reasons for employment gaps include:
• Caring for a child, elderly parent or an ill family member.
• Relocating to a new city or state.
• Pursuing higher education.
• Starting a business.

Be sure to let the hiring manager know that the issue that caused the career gap has been resolved. That way, you can ease any fears that you will quit the job soon after you get it.

3. Focus on the advantages of your employment gap.

Emphasize the things you have learned during the gap years. Show how they have positively impacted your personal development and professional growth.

Most importantly, explain why you are interested in this specific position. It’s possible that you have gained skills and insights that would make you the perfect candidate for the job.

4. Draw attention to your other strengths.

Your employment history is significant, but so are your education, volunteer activities and other abilities. Consider all that you have learned about yourself over that period regardless of your motives for taking a break from your job.

Turn your resumé into a display of your greatest skills and experiences. Highlight your key accomplishments and abilities. You can also go into detail about your volunteer and employment experience, courses you’ve completed and any long-term interests you’ve picked up.

5. Remain positive.

Employers are concerned about resumé gaps because they raise questions about a candidate’s reliability. If you’re questioned about any breaks during a job interview, promote the advantages and positive experiences you gained during such gaps, and convince hiring managers that you’re now prepared to resume work. Any misgivings will be pushed aside, and the career gaps will swiftly shrink if you are optimistic and aggressive.

If you don’t address the breaks, employment gaps can work against you. Knowing how to address a career gap on your resume is the best way to limit the harm they can create and get hired for your next job.

Join Corporate Counsel Men of Color

Joining a professional organization such as Corporate Counsel Men of Color can help you network with other professional men and learn new career strategies. Want to learn more about Corporate Counsel Men of Color? Enroll in our organization today.

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