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How to fill a large gap in your resume?


Mae Strang San Antonio, TX

Yesterday was my last day of active duty. I need to take off at least a year to work on my health conditions (I'm currently unable to work because of them). I've heard that employers view resume gaps as a huge red flag when hiring and I know that future employers will ask me why there was a 1-year gap in my resume. What can I do throughout this year to mitigate this? After some brainstorming, this is what I came up with: Volunteering, Earning Career-Advancing Online Certifications (i.e. PMP). If anyone has experienced this and/or has any good ideas on how to handle it, any advice would be much appreciated. Thank you in advance!

8 January 2019 6 replies Resumes & Cover Letters



Suzanna Molino Sparks Glencoe, MD

Definitely volunteering, however, not just taking any old thing, but seek PROFESSIONAL VOLUNTEERISM, especially positions that are in your field of interest, if you know it.

As a writer and editor, I have done tons of work pro bono for nonprofit organizations and friends who work for nonprofits. On my resume, I name that work, certainly, and call myself a Professional Volunteer. We can be paid in other ways besides paychecks!

Success to you in restoring your health and segwaying into your next career. And thank you for your service, Mae!


20 January 2019 Helpful answer


Tim Gaughran Gulfport, MS

Hi there Mae,

I’ve been in the military, worked in the government, worked for a Fortune 500 company, owned restaurants, been an educator, a stock trader, Estate Administrator, been employed overseas, and now a Program Director for a major University. With all of those positions, I’ve had several gaps. As mentioned by another answer, if you can explain it away logically, employers understand that life happens. For this year upcoming, volunteering, networking at events in fields that you might like, and of course some certifícate programs would help. All the best to you. You can do it!

12 January 2019 Helpful answer


Tim Feemster Dallas, TX

While you are doing either of the two good suggestions already given, make sure you chronical your health progress so you can articulate it in job interviews. You are focusing on getting yourself physically ready to join the workforce. You want to be able to be at work every day on time and this is the means you and your doctors have charted to make that happen. Look at physical rehabilitation as a job to get ready to have a job.

I strongly suggest you go to community college or tech school to refine skills you are interested in for when you seek a full time assignment as well.

9 January 2019 Helpful answer



Enroll in a college, perhaps part time. Even a community college: But don't overdo it. Take some easy business courses. That will tell a prospective employer that you have not "quit" improving your mind, education, and outlook, while you are improving your health.

In San Antonio, contact my former consulting client, USAA. They are a great company, and go out of their way to hire Vets.

Good luck.

9 January 2019 Helpful answer


John Brady Sterling, VA

If you are in the PM Career Field then I highly recommend you get your PMP certification during the 1 year time-off. You'll need it in the civilian world and it will show initiative and commitment on your part. Perhaps look for volunteer opportunities where you could showcase your leadership and management skills while you are recovering.

9 January 2019 Helpful answer


Mae Strang San Antonio, TX

Thank you all so much for your guidance. I appreciate your help! Although I'm not well enough to attend classes as a full-time student this year, I believe that a lighter course load as a part-time student would be possible.

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