How To Explain “Holes” in Your Work History

Beach ComberWe’ve all had periods of unemployment.  We’ve all had to take time away from career pursuits, whether it was to tend an ailing loved one, return to school/training, deal with personal problems, support a family member’s struggling business or become a quasi-homeless beachcomber in an exotic tropical locale.  Whatever the reasons, inevitably, we end up with a gap in our history which can be a glaring weakness on your resume.  In interviews, it can be awkward trying to call attention away from the gaps.  How should you explain where you were when you weren’t working for 11 months? Take a look at this excellent article from The Savvy Networker wherein it is explained exactly how to address these holes in the resume.

11 Responses to “How To Explain “Holes” in Your Work History”

  1. Cheryl Taylor

    This is quite a troubling question for me. I have worked at several places (all in the steel construction business) that have gone completely dead. Some of the places have a long-term layoff and leave you hanging, while other places have gone completely bankrupt. I worked for two companies that went bankrupt. Everytime I get layed off, I have to explain that the company either lost a major client or the economy dug another hole in the construction business. That’s why I know that explanation on my resume would help me get beyond those worries. I just assumed that they would already consider the economy as being the issue for the lay-off. Thanks for the article.

  2. Debra Bell

    It’s never good to have gaps in your resume and I agree with the article wholeheartedly. I worked for a mortgage company that went under after eight years of time in with the company and that was devastating to me when I lost my job. Did I curl up and die? No, I went out and applied for another position and had 3 other offers to choose from and I decided to take a part time position and to use this opportunity to better myself and my career. I have had so many different types of careers that I can go and practically get any kind of position. Have a blessed day!

  3. Ann Goodrow

    How would I explain holes in my career, well having 4 children has taken time away from my career goals. They come first and thankfully I have a wonderful husband who takes primary responsibility for the family finances during the most important time of raising our children.

  4. Anett Molnar

    I have the same problem. I took two years off and now it seem like I’ve made a really bad decision. Although I cherished the time I spent with my kids and I studied really hard , every time I go to an interview I have to give an explanation , why did I choose to take all this time off . And the next question would be “So how will you be able to work with two tiny kids at home? Would you be able to give your best and focus on work? “. As I noticed employers are not looking for young mothers regardless of their experience or educational background.

  5. Jessica Mattes

    This article answers things that I question a lot. I have been laid off and have a few employment gaps, but have never thought to put them in my resume with an explanation. I thought like many other people do. I thought I would just explain that during my interview. I guess that might be one reason that interviews have been few and far between. I will definitely have to put those reasons in my resume somehow.

    • LaDonna Brooks

      This article enlighten my thoughts about how to explain the “holes” in my employment. This kind of information will be a tremendous help in giving an employer the reasons the “holes” occurred. With the job market so tight, being a candidate with “holes” can hamper your chances and could even be frowned upon by the employer. By having access to resources that provides input that will assist you in your job hunt makes for a easier transition into the workforce.

      This blog provided some helpful insights and current topics that at this point is just what the “doc” ordered. I will be completing the Insurance Medical Coding and Billing program on 8/13/2010, and the information that I’ve received is timely and will enhance the pursuit of getting a job and Allen School Online has prepared me to the fullest degree for that endeavor.

      One last thing I’d like to comment on is that I truly agree with the ultrasound technician who stated, “shame on the search engine for not positioning this post higher”!

      LaDonna Brooks

      • Susan Canfield

        I was disheartened after reading the replies to the article at Savvy Network regarding “holes” in your work history. Parents should not have to apologize and explain why they chose to stay home and raise their children. Parents are excellent at multi-tasking, have exceptional organizational skills and can negotiate better than most. Just remember there is no job harder than parenting…so bring it on.

  6. I never thought of replying to a post like yours before, but this topic is not only relevant for gaps in employment for a resume but especially for parents who have had a family and have not been in employment for many years. As has been my wife’s experience. We started our family very early as teenagers, and having had our first child, we fell pregnant just as he was starting school and so my wife again couldn’t work, our 3rd child arrived 6 yrs later and again my wife was not able to work. As my wife Lyn had no real work experience as she had always been at home doing an absolutely marvellous job of raising our 3 boys, and managing our home; it was very unnerving when she had to complete an application for a vacancy or compile a resume (CV).
    Her anxiety was really bad and she was sure that she was not employable; it was only when we sat together and listed all her qualities as a mother and home manager that she began to feel more confident and able to complete her resume (CV).


  7. Very awesome post with a great sense of encouragement for high school grads. Very happy that yo were motivated going to college as it seems that most would be a little nervous going off on their own, but this shows that you were really motivated and looking forward to everthing

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