How TO Explain Gaps In Your Resume
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How to Explain Gaps in Your Resume

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There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to find a new job at every duty station.  The interview process can be so stressful.  Add in the worry of having to explain gaps in your resume and it can be an absolute nightmare.

Military moves are stressful enough without the added bother of finding employment in a field that you’ve worked very hard to join.  When you dust off your resume you may notice some unavoidable gaps.

Never Be Ashamed of Gaps in Your Resume That are There Because of Your Spouse’s Military Service

It can be so easy to think that you’re less of a professional or less worthy of a good position because you’ve had to take time off.  You’re worthy!  The very fact that you’re taking time to figure out how best to fix your resume is a testament to your work ethic.

Many of us have to take time off for one reason or another.  Many of us take time off because of our children.  While non-military folks will say “just send them to daycare”, military folks know that it’s not that easy.  Very often there isn’t someone to help with drop off and pick up or help you cover down.

I’ve taken time off from nursing because the duty billet was too short.  We once moved to Fort Benning, GA for 8 months.  It would take 3 or more months to transfer my license and additional time to actually find a job.  It would be time to put in appropriate notice by the time I settled into the job in the first place!

Honesty is the Best Policy

I’ve gone to more than one interview and wanted to hide the fact that I was a military spouse.  I thought I wouldn’t get the job if they knew my husband was in the military.  And sometimes they don’t!  It can be expensive to hire and train a new employee and no one likes turnover.

But for many employers, hiring a military spouse is beneficial.  Some are patriotic enough to want to “do their part”.  Others understand the hard work and adaptability that a military spouse brings to the table.  Still others can do the math and realize it can be a bargain to hire an employee who doesn’t need healthcare, thanks TriCare!

How to Fill the Gaps on Your Resume

Most employers want to know about gaps because they want to avoid hiring someone who’s shiftless or leaves jobs for terrible reasons.

While explaining why you’ve taken time off can be daunting, you can also show that just because you weren’t earning doesn’t mean you weren’t producing!  Think about any volunteering you’ve done.  It belongs on your resume!

I put the time I spent as a company treasurer on my resume.  I managed an informal fund for a 300 member family readiness group.  Hello!  Bookkeeping as well as team management and sitting on a decision-making board.  When I was an FRG Leader I managed 300 family members, event organization, and coordinating volunteers.  These are all tasks that I could have easily been hired to do and worthwhile skills!

You’re worthy of continuing your career and being a military spouse makes you an asset, not a liability!  Dust off your best smile and build those resumes with pride!

How to Explain Gaps in Your Resume

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5 Comments

  • Helene

    I believe being honest while trying to explain that annoying gap is a first great approach. But there is always something worth to be mentioned even if it’s not related to the job applying for.

  • Flossie McCowald

    This is a great post, full of solid advice. It’s on a very tricky topic indeed. I’ve wrestled with this a lot since leaving the workforce (not entirely by choice – my first was born late in the Great Recession right at the same time my term job ended) – absolutely, if you have relevant experience of ANY sort (paid or not), it should def go on there!

  • Stephanie

    I’ve had many gaps in my resume. At one point it was because of taking time off for school and finishing up my degree. Now I don’t have a job while I am home with my children. I’ve never had a problem explaining my time off, most employers are pretty understanding for the most part.

    • ThatCrazyMilspouse

      I feel the same way. The only real issue is that many are afraid to share their military spouse affiliation. Many employers don’t want to hire us because they know it is an employee that will be leaving soon. It adds turnover which can be very expensive. Sometimes spouses have gaps because they can’t work and also have their husband’s leave time off or want days off to accommodate training schedules. Employers wonder if we will then ask for lots of time off. A lot of assumptions are made on both sides.

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