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Resumes & Cover Letters

How to Cover for Gaps in your Resume

gap in resume

Many people fall ill for a period of time due to no fault of their own. Most often it is something quite minor such as a common cold or a bout of flu that can knock you off your feet for a few days. However, when you have faced a much longer spell of illness, or suffered from something serious that needed a lot of ongoing treatment, it can result in lengthy gaps appearing in your resume while you took time out from work to recover.

While you may worry that there are noticeable holes or gaps in your resume, and you believe they may create a negative reaction from future employers, there are ways to manage these gaps and putting a positive spin on your resume.

Early days of ill health

Should you have fallen ill at the beginning of your career for any length of time, then when constructing your resume, look to see if you can drop this period of time completely from your resume.

Most likely, when it comes to applying for a new job, an employer will be more interested in your most recent work experience, training and achievements. If you layout your resume timeline with your most recent employment history at the beginning, the chances are your potential new employer will not give your much older work history more than a cursory glance.

Your exact employment dates can sometimes be a little hard to remember. So when listing them on your resume it is acceptable to simply state a rough idea of how long you’ve worked for a particular company. You don’t need to include exact years, months, weeks and days. Employers are aware of this and for the most part are looking at what skills and experience you gained while working there rather than the actual dates you spent employed there.

How to disguise your employment gaps

It is possible to gloss over a period of illness that fell more recently where you cannot simply let it drop off the end of your resume. For example, if you fell ill and had to take sick leave for six months in 2016, you can state that you were employed between 2013 and 2016 with a company, and then from 2016 to present with your current company.

This is a way to bridge a gap in your resume without actually mentioning that your were off sick or any need to disclose your illness. By using years instead of specific dates, you can gloss over any longer term sickness spells.

Long-term sickness

When you are talking about an extended period of sickness that lasts longer than a year, this can be a little more difficult to address in your resume. Where you may not feel completely comfortable about disclosing the nature of your illness, you can simply state that you were taking some long-term leave. It would then be up to the employer to enquire further should they wish to know more.

If the illness you suffered is unlikely to affect your work performance in your new role, then you can tell your potential new employer this without actually disclosing the nature of your illness. However, if you know that you have an ongoing medical condition, you should inform your employer and make them aware of any special working requirements or adjustments you need to have put in place to enable you to do the job.

Where you know for certain that that the illness you suffered has passed, and you will no longer be affected by it, then you should make this crystal clear within your resume and cover letter. Should you be invited in for an interview, be prepared to reiterate that you are fully recovered and do not expect a relapse in your future.

Present a perfect resume

Make sure that you take every step possible to present your potential new employer with a highly polished and well presented resume. This is often good enough to more than make up for any obvious spells of sickness leave.

Make the best use of the tools available to create a perfect resume by using Freesumes.com professionally designed free resume templates or premium resume templates and cover letter packs. Check out our blog for plenty of helpful tips and guidance about tailoring your resume, applying for jobs and preparing for your interview.

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