Explaining the unexplained gaps on your Resume

Don’t be tempted to ignore gaps in your career on your resume, hoping that employers






For many hiring managers, a resume that’s full of unexplained breaks is a” red flag”, and they may disregard your application straight away!

Be honest during a hiring process.  This starts with your resume. Don’t lie or try to cover gaps by extending the months you worked somewhere because chances are you will be found out at the reference check stage. Yep! Even if you have nothing to hide, this will make employers suspicious and it will put them off.

Termination or Downsizing

Explain what it was you did during your break in service. Be honest, if you were fired, say just that.

If you were retrenched and needed some downtime tell them this. Explain what it was you did during your break, perhaps spent more time with family, sorted out your personal affairs. Completed courses that you were wanting to do for years. Explain if you did any volunteer work.

Caring for Family

The first lesson all recruiters are taught is to ensure the months and years of your CV flow, without any gaps. Ensure you explain this in your cover letter.  Many people take time out of their career to take care of a relative or raise their children, this is life. Please mention it and ensure them that your children are now in full-time education/childcare or that you no longer have care commitments and are ready to return to your career.


If you have been ill, you have been ill. Don’t sugarcoat it. Be honest. If the gap is recent and long, you will have to acknowledge it and explain it. The message you need to get across is that you had to take time out of work because you were ill (honesty is the best policy); however, you are now ready, well and motivated to return to the workforce.


Many employers will appreciate the fact that you’ve been traveling before you apply for a role at their organization. Just ensure you mention that you are ‘done’ with your travelling for now.