Tips on how to address gaps on your resume

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Employers give tips on how job seekers can proactively address their gaps that may appear on their resume.

No matter how positive your attitude, being unemployed is frustrating, especially when it goes on for longer than you planned. Employers know that. So when you’re writing a cover letter or going in for an interview, they don’t expect you to pretend unemployment has been a walk in the park. But they don’t want to hear you to complain, either. As clichéd as it sounds, that's when they want to see that you’ve made the most of a bad situation.

What do employers want to see?

In one survey, employers cited the following activities as the best ways for job candidates to expand and strengthen their skills:

  • Take a temporary or contract position – 79 percent
  • Take a class – 61 percent
  • Volunteer – 60 percent
  • Start your own business – 28 percent
  • Start a professional blog – 11 percent

The common thread among each of these suggestions is initiative. The economy or a tough situation might prevent you from having your ideal job, but there are plenty of ways to stay current with industry trends and to keep your skills up to date. Some of these suggestions might even help you edge out a competitor who's not demonstrating that they're committed to personal growth.

Job seekers are often prepared for tricky interview questions, but one not-so-tricky one that often pops up is, “What have you been doing since your last job?” Your answer should never be “Nothing.” Check out the list of employer recommendations above and figure out what steps you can take so that your résumé answers that question for them.