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!
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.
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.
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.
Thank you Megan. I really appreciate your feedback!
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