Hiding employment gaps in your resume

I may know a lot about writing resumes (I wrote the book – literally), but I occasionally see new ways to make a resume stand out.

Today I saw a fun one. A guy hadn’t been working for the last year or two. Generally, not working for more than about 8 or 9 months makes it really really hard to get any job. There are a lot of standard ways to hide that you weren’t working. For example:

Railway, Platform, Mind, Gap, Mind The Gap, Travel
Self Employed2018-2019
Most recent job2015-2018
(most recent job ends before current year)
Wal-Mart Greeter2018-2019
(irrelevant minimum wage job)
Developer at [spouse’s company]2017-2019

With these, it sounds like you didn’t want to be (effectively) unemployed. If you’re Self Employed, list your clients. Use big, exact numbers. 63,844 is better than 64,000.

If you haven’t worked at all and it’s a big gap, list any projects you’ve been working on while looking for a job. Charity work that happens to be in your field is great.  

If you have a minimum-wage job as filler, please don’t list it on your resume. It’s better to have a gap than to have something like that on your resume.

If you were kind of working for a friend or your spouses company, it doesn’t look great if they’re a small company, but it’s better than nothing. If you REALLY have been working there, use big, exact numbers. They catch eyes and make it sound like you were working.

These all work, but I’ve got a new favorite. I mentioned that I saw a new one today. The guy listed all the places he had traveled to over the last year or two, and how he was going to at least one new place a month. He had various states and monuments listed, as well as Europe, the Baja Peninsula, and more.

You can call it a sabbatical, if you want.

Most people out of a job probably can’t reasonably afford to go to Europe, but there are generally places to go touring. This is amazingly effective because it makes it seem like you WANTED to be unemployed so you could go to all of these places.

When you can’t or don’t get a job for an extended time, it looks like there is something wrong. Either you got fired for something awful, or you’re not skilled enough, or something else.

If it looks like you didn’t want a job, that you didn’t need to search for a job (because you were so wildly successful), it will help you out on your resume.

Something To Do Today

What can you put on your resume to make it sound like you wanted to be unemployed instead of desperate to get a job?

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