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Advice concerning employment gap


Peter Holmes Arlington, TX

I have a six month employment gap on my resume. From 2015- May 2017 I was a financial analyst at a university. During the spring semester of 2017 I took 3 graduate classes to qualify for the CPA exam. I needed 5 classes.

The workload in order to complete the courses combined with full time job and personal obligations, turned out to be somewhat overwhelming, and in order to pass the graduate course, I left the full time job; my last day on the job was in April, but on paper bc vacation it was in May. (perhaps leaving was a mistake, but I can't change that, hindsight is 20/20). I passed the graduate courses, and though I planned to go straight through and complete the other 2 courses, due to being completely burned out, I took a few months and worked part time at a sales job. I was hired for a contract assignment(temporary) as an analyst in November of 2017 which lasted 6 months and I completed one of the other CPA courses that spring. In April I was hired full time at a company as an analyst and did very well, but due to seniority-based layoffs recent hires were let go in October 2018.

The issue I am having now is employers are viewing this 6 month gap in 2015 as a red flag, I have always gotten great reviews and have never had a performance issue. I am trying to get advice on how to explain this gap to employers in the best light, typically they ask questions about it and I don't like to say I took on too much because I feel that reflects negatively on judgement. I've worked hard in the past getting a masters degree in the evenings and working full time. I also have a good work ethic from the military, and plan to finish the last CPA course this summer. I need some advice getting navigating this road block during the interview process. Thank you!

24 January 2019 4 replies Interviews



Emanuel Carpenter Alpharetta, GA

Hi Peter - Don't assume all employers will treat the employment gap as a red flag. I recently interviewed a candidate who told me she quit her job without another one lined up because she worked in a toxic work environment. I still wanted to hire her because of her skills but another company swooped her up. In your situation, going to school to better yourself is a worthy reason to have a gap in your resume.

One thing you can do is use a Skills-based resume instead of a Chronological resume. You don't need the exact dates of your work history on a Skills resume. The point is to highlight what skills and education you bring to the table not what you did at every job you held. It looks like this:

Researched macroeconomic conditions to affect decision making
Advised on the best stock and bonds to purchase
MS Office expert, including Access and Excel
Designed and implemented a new program saving $527,000
Created a system and process to add 1.5 hours of work productivity per day for everyone
Experienced overcoming work under pressure

University of Toledo - Bachelor's in Business Administration

Contractor of America - 2017-2018
University of Toledo - 2015-2017
US Marines - 2011-2015

Hope this helps.

26 January 2019 Helpful answer


Megan Heaning New York, NY

Hi Peter!

Thanks for your service and your question. You've done quite a lot! From what it looks like, during the gap you are referencing, you were attending school. Since you were a student, I wouldn't consider that a gap in your resume.

If you feel like this a concern, you might want to consider addressing it in your cover letters to companies in a quick sentence, just as you did above. I also want to point you to two older questions on ACP AdvisorNet, which deal with similar issues and have great advice:

I hope this helps! Please feel free to message me if you have further questions.


25 January 2019 Helpful answer


Marvin Feil Newton, NJ

Thank you for your service.
You are getting good advice here.
Being a student is a good reason for not working a job. If you feel a need to add this to your resume, do it in 1 or 2 sentences, not more.
It never hurts to ask the local unemployment office to review your resume. or someone you trust.


Peter Holmes Arlington, TX

Thank you Megan. I really appreciate your feedback!

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