How to explain career breaks on your resume

How you explain any gaps in your career within your resume is dependent on the reasons for the career breaks. Generally, although gaps may feel difficult to explain, the key is to explain them as positively as possible at interview, ensure your interviewer that the issue has been resolved and that you’re now ready and willing to work.

If the gaps in your career history occurred many years ago or were only for a few months, there’s no reason to explicitly highlight reasons for the gap in your resume. It may make sense to refer to a lengthy career history in years rather than months.

Of course, there are some types of career breaks that can reflect on you positively and are therefore worthy of inclusion, as a valuable addition to your resume. This includes further training and development, qualifications, voluntary work or travelling. Such experiences add to your knowledge and awareness as an individual and you can state that they make you a far more rounded and self-aware employee.

A common reason for a break in employment is maternity, paternity or adoption leave. Again, state the positive skills you have learned from becoming a parent, such as multi-tasking, and assure your potential employer that you have firm childcare arrangements in place.

However, if your reasons for a break in employment are unemployment because you just haven’t been able to find a suitable role, or an illness or accident, what’s important is not to explain these reasons in great depth but to be honest about the implications they’ve had for you as a person. Perhaps your circumstances have made you more determined or led to a change of heart and a career change. Whatever the consequences, if you’re in this situation, try to remember that what’s most important to employers is a positive attitude, combined with the right skills and experiences.