Employment gaps have always been something job seekers were afraid of. Most people don't know how to explain the employment gap in a resume or cover letter and as a result, they just ignore it. But to do nothing about and ignore it means you don't care that much. And that is something potential employer won't tolerate. Life throws different challenges at us; employment gaps are just consequences of these challenges. It is not a good thing but that doesn't mean you will unlikely get a good job. No matter what is the cause of your employment gaps you shouldn't ignore and should do something about it in your resume. Whether you were caring for the sick loved one, raising children or simply volunteering in the project you think is vitally important for your community you have to make an employer know that you are now even better than you used to be at work.
What Do I Say on a Resume About It?
Before making any explanations (either in your resume or cover letter) you have to understand whether the time when you were off work helped you gain any specific skills or maybe that's when you could use some of your professional skills. This is important because it automatically says to an employer that your employment gap wasn't also your professional gap. Even if you were just raising kids it is likely that you had to learn what coordination and management skills are all about. It is even easier if you have been involved in some charity project in the role of a volunteer.
After you have analyzed how you spent your time off work it is important to focus on skills and qualities that would be relevant to the job you are applying for. So let's assume you have singled out things that you have learned during your employment gap. But how do you incorporate them into a resume? Well, it is definitely worth starting your resume from an overview of qualifications section (most people call it a summary). At the very top list your qualifications (including those relevant ones that you have learned while being out of work) summarizing your career in several bullet statements. Make sure you use keywords that are relevant to the job and the industry. We would recommend creating a major accomplishments section if you have had a high-level job prior to your employment gap. If you have accomplishments that would make you stand out don't list them in the middle of your resume - they might not get read at all. Choose three or four major achievements and put them right after your summary section. This way employers will look at you not just as a person with employment gaps but on someone who has accomplished something.
The resume body format with employment gaps is something a lot of resume writers don't agree upon. Some say you if you have an employment gap then you are better off a functional resume. Others believe that using a functional format will be a turnoff. At Prime-Resume we believe there shouldn't be a problem if you categorize your resume content this way: group your bullets by type of skill creating a heading for each one of them. Don't forget about volunteer positions when listing your responsibilities. After you are done with that it will be good to list your employment history, but that should be a separate section.