Resume Black Holes: Intentional Or Otherwise

A friend recently sent me an invite to her LinkedIn network, a place for business networking and housing an online resume. When I looked at her online profile, she had a gaping hole in her work listing. The time missing was her time at the company we both actually worked at together.

There is a lot of talk about what to do on a resume to deflect hole due to long unemployment. Not much is put into filling holes of employment from employers you would love to forget every existed, but you will settle for a way to leave them off the resume. The former employer I’m talking about offered a barely functional work environment, and my friend did great work while she was there.

I am sure she listed the old job when looking for her current (and much better) job, but now has the power to spirit the experience away. I wonder what she will use as an explanation should she need one, since it looks like a 7-year gap in employment (I suspect she misdated some jobs on her profile).

I left the company at my own choosing, but under duress, as did a flood of others at the same time during a changing of the guard. I still list the company, although my work there was concurrent with my current day-job employer. The experience I gained, the skills I picked up, and being able to use the bad experience of the job as a story of survival, seems to be work the ink. It was apparently not for my friend.

But I need to give you a little useful advice, so let’s get into how you can address a resume gap before it becomes a black hole in your career. Assuming you want to address it.

The first step is to remember to be honest in your explanation, even if you don’t turn out to be perfectly honest. Don’t allow the interviewer to turn a gap in your resume into a major concerns.

Make sure you come up with a good reason for your resume gap (while sticking to that whole honestly step). Some basic reasons include relocation, family emergencies, personal and educational goals, or a medical situation. In the case of a medical situation, be aware that the condition may raise some questions, which may or may not be legal.

Long periods of unexplained unemployment is a red flag for employers. Maybe you don’t need the work and could flake out and leave them high and dry at a critical point, or maybe you aren’t good enough to fool most employers that you are a bad employee, and they don’t want to be the company that falls for your nonsense.

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