You may have a gap or two in your employment history, and you’re worried it might send the wrong message to potential employers. Fear not! Employment gaps are more common than you might think, and there are strategic ways to address them that highlight your strengths and resilience.

Let’s face it: Life happens. Whether it’s due to personal health issues, family responsibilities, travel, education, or simply a transition period, there are countless legitimate reasons for taking a break from the workforce. The key is not to hide these gaps but to frame them in a way that showcases your growth, learning, and readiness to jump back into your career.

Be Honest and Positive

Honesty is the best policy. There’s no need to concoct elaborate stories to cover up employment gaps. Instead, be upfront and positive about your time away from work. Focus on what you learned during your break and how it has prepared you for your next professional challenge.

Whether you developed new skills, gained a fresh perspective, or overcame personal obstacles, sharing these insights can paint a picture of resilience and adaptability.

Use Your Cover Letter Wisely

Your cover letter is a fantastic tool for addressing employment gaps head-on. Use this space to provide context and explain how your experiences during the gap have contributed to your personal and professional growth.

This approach allows you to steer the narrative and highlight the positives, setting the stage for a productive conversation during the interview.

Highlight Skills and Projects

Did you take on freelance projects, volunteer work, courses, or any form of professional development during your employment gap? Be sure to highlight these experiences on your resume. Even if not directly related to your desired job, they can demonstrate your commitment to staying active and engaged in your field.

Focus on the skills you honed or acquired during this time and how they apply to your desired position.

Opt for a Functional Resume Format

Consider using a functional resume format if you have significant gaps in your employment history. This style emphasizes your skills and achievements rather than a chronological work history, allowing you to present yourself in the best possible light.

You can still include a concise employment history section, but the focus will be on your competencies and accomplishments.

Prepare to Discuss in Interviews:

Finally, be prepared to discuss your employment gaps in interviews. Practice a brief, positive explanation focusing on growth, learning, and how your experiences during the gap have made you a stronger candidate. Remember, confidence and transparency are key.

Employers appreciate candidates who can own their stories and demonstrate how they’ve emerged from challenges and are ready to contribute.

Employment gaps don’t have to be a stumbling block on your path to a new job. By addressing them honestly, positively, and strategically, you can turn potential concerns into compelling narratives of growth and resilience. Embrace this, and let it shine as a testament to your character and capability.

For more expert advice from a seasoned recruiter, email me at or connect with me on LinkedIn at Trish Valenzuela.

About the Author

Trish Valenzuela is the Practice Director for Monogastric Health & Nutrition at Continental Search. She joined the team in 2015. With her knack for building relationships and a deep understanding of the industry, she has successfully led recruitment efforts for roles within the US, Canada, and Asia.

Trish makes sure to understand what each company needs in a candidate and works closely with them to find the perfect match. She loves learning new things, enjoys going to trade shows, and catching up with folks she’s worked with to keep learning and growing in her field. You can connect with her on LinkedIn or drop her an email at