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When a hiring manager is assessing resumes, one of the red flags that may jump out at her is unexplained gaps in a job applicant’s work history. If there is no explanation for a period of unemployment, the hiring manager may be reluctant to take a chance on the applicant, particularly if there are a high number of other qualified candidates for the role. To maximize your chances of getting an interview, ensure that all gaps in your work history have an explanation attached.

Family Commitments:

If you have taken time out to have children or look after an elderly relative, explain this on your resume. Also explain what transferable skills you have attained during this period. You may have gained time management and budgeting skills through running a household, for example. If you have undertaken voluntary work during this period be sure to include it. Example may include participating in the PTA or running a support group for other carers. All of these activities reveal skills and commitment that your prospective employer could be looking for.

Ill Health:

If you have a gap on your resume because you were unable to work due to ill health, a prospective employer may worry that you will need further time off in the future. If you can reassure your employer that your health has improved, this information will alleviate these fears.

Worst Case Scenario:

If you have a less than positive reason for the gap on your resume, for example if you were dismissed due to misconduct and found it difficult to secure a new job, honesty is often the best policy. However, you can also place a positive spin on your experience by explaining what you have learned and how this learning will make you a valuable member of the new employer’s workforce.