How to Go About Filling the Resume Gap

A resume gap is an extended period (or gap) of time unaccounted for on your resume.  And post Great Recession, resume gaps are a common occurrence as many people do actually go years without being gainfully employed.  But just because they are a common occurrence does not mean that they can be left unexplained.  If you have a gap of one year or more on your resume between jobs, you can be that your potential employer will inquire about it.  So if you are on this boat, how do you go about handling your extended period of unemployment?  Well the easiest answer is to fill the gap.

Filling in the Gap

Instead of leaving a gap of extended unemployment, fill that gap with things that will increase your market value.  You can fill that gap in by doing three things:

  1. Part-time work, freelance work, or internships
  2. Volunteering
  3. Continuing education

Employers like people who like to learn and are go-getters.  Taking part-time work, freelancing work, or extra classes shows an employer that you are trying to better yourself and willing to do whatever it takes to get things done and get a competitive edge.  It is an admirable trait to continue to improve in the face of adversity (unemployment) and employers will recognize that.

How to Go About Filling the Gap

Above, we talked about the three ways to go about filling the resume gap: part-time, freelance or internship work, volunteering, and extra schooling.  Let’s go over how to properly go about filling in your gap with each method:

Part-time Work, Freelance Work, or Internships

Picking up work here and there is important to stay afloat.  However, make sure that the part-time work, freelance work, or internship is related in some shape or form.  If you are trying to get into the computer engineering industry, part-time work as a waiter at Applebee’s does very little in getting you closer to a career in computer engineering.  However, if you did some freelance programming or worked part-time for a game animation firm, that can go a very long way in advancing your career.  Whatever you do, be sure to save all your work so you can show it to your potential employers.  Also, keep in close touch with your bosses or clients as they will be the ones vouching for you later on down the line.

Volunteering

You may have a little more leeway in volunteering than you do with internships, freelance work, or part-time work.  The fact that you are able to do work for free shows your altruistic nature.  Employees love people with good hearts.

Continuing Education

If you are taking classes, they should ideally be classes that will increase your knowledge in the area of work you are interested in.  However, if that’s not the case, that’s okay too; employers like to see employees who strive to improve themselves, even if it doesn’t directly relate to the field.  If you are worried about cost, don’t.  There are many online courses that are either offered for free or cost less than $100.  Many of these courses are offered by world-classes universities too.  Check these courses out at sites like Udemy and Coursera.

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I founded ResumeOK in 2011, with the goal of helping people increase their chances to get a better job. I am a career and online marketing expert that has reviewed and written thousands of resumes. During my career, I have found certain patterns that make a resume successful, and I’m sharing all my insights in the samples that you can find on ResumeOK. My work has been published by reputable publications such as BusinessInsider, FoxNews, SmartRecruiters, Business.com, HuffPost, ZipRecruiter, SnagAJob. If you need help with your resume, or just want to say “hi”, send me an email. Read more about us here .

1 thought on “How to Go About Filling the Resume Gap”

  1. So true – great article. When my last ongoing contract finished (as a Community Development & Evaluation Project Officer with the local council), I picked up some casual and temp work running workshops in high schools and with young adults (quite by accident), so I registered for an ABN (Australian Business Number) and kept doing casual, temp and consulting work, gradually picking up work I’d been keen to try but never had the chance to in the past e.g. Marketing strategy, promotion of an accounting firm, PR, blog and newsletter writing etc etc.

    Then, as we know, the economy all over the world began getting trickier and more unpredictable, so I began looking for a full time or part time ongoing job as someones employee. AMAZINGLY, I landed a job as a youth worker, and for me, including the ABN based work in my CV was crucial as I was then able to describe in the interview how I had pretty much had enough of the $$$ being the bottom line and justification in my work, and how I yearned to go back to working for people, with people – to help people.

    So it’s the same with any courses, learning, training you do, or any casual, temp, part time work – for yourself as a sole trader or not, it doesn’t matter, even any travel you’ve done during the time you weren’t working, etc etc all of that paints a picture…it’s up to you to choose the colors to determine what that picture looks like. There’s nothing wrong with admitting you went with the flow, or had opportunities just pop up, BUT make sure you demonstrate how you used those situations etc to keep yourself moving along your career path (so you don’t appear totally passive = lazy in their mind), as well as how you used the space in between eg 6 months in between your previous and current ‘steady’ jobs to explore, improve yourself, fine tune yourself or your career goal/path etc etc

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