Recruitment and Staffing Blog

How to Handle Resume Blemishes and Gaps

There’s a Right Way to Handle Resume Blemishes and Gaps

For job candidates and hiring managers, resume blemishes and employment gaps can be concerning. As a recruiting and staffing agency, our team has seen thousands of resumes and CVs and we’re here to explain why these are not necessarily the red flags you may think they appear to be. No matter what, it is essential to keep an open mind when identifying a resume gap or blemish until given a chance to further investigate it.

Common Reasons for Resume Blemishes and Gaps

Jumping to conclusions is easy when it comes to reviewing a blemished resume. Your mind may start racing through all the potential reasons why the gap or blemish occurred. Before you panic, keep in mind that there are many honorable reasons for having a resume gap or blemish. We have discovered some of the most common reasons for resume blemishes and gaps are:

  • Taking a break from work due to personal reasons, such as caring for a sick family member or going on maternity leave
  • Going back to school
  • Experiencing a health crisis
  • Taking time off to relocate and find a job in a new city or state
  • Taking time off to travel
  • Pursing a new business start-up
  • Being part of a corporate layoff or reduction in force.
  • Candidates who experience life events like these can experience tremendous personal growth. A resume blemish or gap is never a reason to assume someone is not an ideal fit for the position for which they are applying.

    Tips for Jobseekers with a Blemished Resume or CV

    At HIM Connections, we help our candidates work through what they may perceive as “issues” with their resume or CV. Every situation is unique, which is why we enjoy conducting personalized resume or CV consultations with our jobseekers. In general, there are some strategies we may suggest based upon your individual concerns:

  • Consider including a brief note on your resume if the gap is a significant period of time explaining your unemployment
  • Be prepared to briefly explain and answer questions
  • Write a cover letter telling the full story of your resume.
  • Most importantly, honesty is always the best policy when it comes to explaining employment gaps or a blemished resume or CV. Even if your license (such as a nursing or medical license) was revoked or suspended or if you were terminated for performance issues, you should be honest but also positive when explaining these events. Be able to confidently convey what you learned from the experience and how you were able to use it as a launchpad to move forward.

    Tips for Hiring Managers or Employers Seeing Blemished Resumes

    We know how easy it is to jump to conclusions when you see a blemished resume or CV come across your desk. Considering what you have just read about common reasons for blemished resumes, we challenge you to keep an open mind. There are countless successful executives who have experienced career gaps and resume blemishes who have been able to excel in their careers thanks to someone making an open-minded hire. For example, one of PayPal’s most senior staff members, Rohan Mahadevan, took a one-year around-the-world trip with his wife after completing his Ph.D. Upon returning, he was hired by PayPal and credits his sabbatical with much of his success, believing that the time he spent learning about different societies and cultures was actually among his top selling points.

    We encourage our clients to ask open-ended questions when they interview candidates with career gaps or blemished resumes. Allowing the candidate an opportunity to address the issue head-on is best. Try to avoid asking questions directly related to resume blemishes or gaps; instead, help the candidate feel comfortable enough in your interview to speak freely. Ultimately, you will need to use your best judgment in determining how you feel about the candidate.

    How HIM Connections Handles Resume Blemishes and Gaps

    Our goal at HIM Connections is to connect great companies with the best talent available. As our client, you can rest assured that our candidates have passed a rigorous vetting process. We help candidates put their best foot forward so that you have all of the information to make an informed decision when considering a candidate for employment. Resume blemishes and gaps are not the ends of the world—sometimes, they are the beginning of new leases on life.

    Find out how we can assist with your next hire or job search!

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