A lot of people were out of work during COVID. This situation led to a rise in the number of people with employment gaps in their resumes.

There is a misconception that having a gap in your resume is a significant red flag or you’ll automatically have your resume disregarded. This isn’t true. While having a gap in your resume is not ideal, there are situations where it’s acceptable. So, don’t worry too much if you have a gap.

HR recruiters how to explain a gap in your resume


Here is the most important thing to know about gaps in your resume from our HR recruiters – It’s okay to have a gap. It’s how you explain it that is the most important thing to employers.

What Are The Most Common Reasons For A Gap In Your Resume?

After looking at thousands of resumes, our HR recruiters have come to notice some trends when it comes to gaps in resumes. Here are some of the most common reasons you see gaps:

  • You were laid off
  • Maternity leave or being a stay-at-home parent
  • Taking a medical leave
  • Caring for an ill family member
  • Re-education, certification, licensing

How to Explain A Gap In Your Resume

Explaining a gap in your resume doesn’t have to be complicated. The key is to be honest and confident. Focus on what you learned and the skills you picked up during the gap. This is what employers really want to hear about.

For example, you could talk about what you did to stay up-to-date in your industry. Perhaps you took a course or updated your certification during your time away.

Our recruiters offer these tips to following when explaining the gap:

  • Be Honest: Honesty is crucial when explaining a resume gap. Acknowledge the gap and provide a brief, truthful explanation. Attempting to hide or fabricate information may raise further doubts and damage your credibility.
  • Provide a Reason: Explain the reason for the gap in your resume. It could be due to various reasons such as personal circumstances, health issues, family responsibilities, pursuing further education, travel, volunteering, or career exploration. Clearly communicate the reason while remaining professional and concise.
  • Emphasize Personal Development: If the gap in your resume involved personal growth or development, highlight the skills or experiences you gained during that period. For example, you may have acquired new skills through self-study, taken relevant courses, or engaged in volunteer work. Emphasize how these experiences have enhanced your overall skill set.
  • Discuss Relevant Activities: If the gap involves activities that are relevant to your desired position or industry, highlight them. This can include attending industry conferences, participating in networking events, or staying up-to-date with industry trends through self-study. Such activities showcase your dedication and commitment to professional growth.
  • Address Personal Circumstances Appropriately: If the gap was due to personal circumstances, such as health issues, family responsibilities, or caretaking, it is essential to be professional and respectful when discussing them. While you don’t need to provide intricate details, briefly explain the situation without oversharing. Focus on the steps you took to address the circumstances and your readiness to re-enter the workforce.

Employers understand that life circumstances can lead to resume gaps. By addressing the gap honestly, emphasizing relevant experiences and personal growth, you can alleviate potential concerns and present yourself as a valuable candidate.


More HR Recruiter Advice

Why Your Resume Is Holding You Back From Getting the Job You Want

The Top 5 Problems With Your Resume You’re Likely to Miss

5 Generic and Overused Resume Phrases, Plus Better Alternatives


IQ PARTNERS is an Executive Search & Recruitment firm supporting clients across Canada and internationally. We help companies hire better, hire less & retain more. We have specialist teams of recruiters in Executive Search / Board & C-Suite, Technology, Media, Digital & Marketing, Accounting & Finance, Financial Services & Insurance, Startup, Data Science, Consumer, eCommerce & Retail, HR, Manufacturing, Supply Chain & Engineering, Construction & Engineering, Legal & Professional Services, Pharmaceutical & Life Sciences, and Sales. Click here to view current job openings and to register with us.

Priscilla Poirier

Priscilla is a Recruitment Consultant whose primary focus is recruiting for contract positions within the IT, Finance, and HR functions. With more than four years of experience as a specialized contract recruiter, within the IT & Finance sectors, Priscilla truly enjoys what she does. She loves that recruitment allows her to meet amazing new people every day, and is thrilled when she can make someone’s day by letting them know they GOT THE JOB!

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