These days, it’s not unusual to have gaps in your employment history. The national unemployment rate has remained at about 10% since 2008. Employers and recruiters are familiar with seeing employment gaps on resumes by now, but you’ll still need to explain them if you have them. Here’s how to handle the situation and keep those gaps from harming your chances of getting hired.

Be honest. It’s important that you be truthful when presenting your work history.  Don’t try to hide the gaps. If you were laid off, don’t omit that job from your resume—but don’t note that you were laid off, either. List the dates you worked, and if interviewers want more details, they’ll ask for them.

Be ready. Interviewers will expect you to be able to explain the gaps in your employment history. Use your common sense also. Don’t go into an interview and tell a potential employer a sob story about all of your faults, weaknesses and mistakes. Prepare and practice an answer that explains the gaps without going into too much detail. If you’ve been out of work because you raised a family, continued your education, cared for a sick family member or recovered from an injury, don’t act apologetic. There’s nothing wrong with taking time off of work for any of these reasons.

Reformat your dates. Instead of laying out your employment history in months and years on your resume, such as March 2004 – January 2008, simply use the years: 2004-2008. It’s easier to follow and helps your resume look clear and concise. It also doesn’t raise any red flags unnecessarily, if there was an employment gap. If that comes up in the interview, by all means be honest about it, but don’t raise a red flag to an interviewer.

Be positive. Regardless of how you present your employment gaps, do so in a positive light.

There’s nothing you can do to change the fact that they happened, so the best strategy is to develop a forward-looking resume that shows the value you offer potential employers.

If you have further questions about how to find a job with an imperfect job historycontact the experts at Staffers.

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