En Route: A Career Blog

Hiding Gaps in Employment

AUTHOR: Darlene Zambruski
POSTED: March 22, 2013 at 2:00 am

Many of us have had a break between jobs due to our positions being outsourced, eliminated or because we had personal obligations that demanded our time.

As most job seekers know, hiring managers and recruiters take job gaps into consideration when they’re determining whether they’ll call a candidate in for an interview.

You Can’t Change History

Although it’s impossible to eliminate some job gaps, you can minimize the negative effect if you choose the correct template. Currently, the most popular format is the reverse-chronological. That is, in the professional experience section, you’d list your jobs as they occurred, with the most recent first, followed by the next most recent, and on and on. Hiring managers prefer this format because it clearly shows gaps. And that’s why it’s not always the best format to use if you’re trying to minimize times of unemployment.

Should You Use a Functional Format?

The functional template was designed to showcase skills, knowledge, abilities – rather than where you did these tasks and achieved these outcomes. As this sample shows there is no detail in the professional employment section as to tasks or accomplishments. A hiring manager and recruiter are left to guess what happened at each company.


Recruiters and hiring managers know immediately that most candidates using the functional format are trying to hide gaps. Therefore, it’s wise to stay away from a strictly functional format. There are two other options.

Try a Combination Resume Format

The organization of data in this template serves to minimize gaps. However, it does have data in the professional experience section which makes it appear more like a reverse chronological resume as this sample shows.


The last option would be to break your professional experience into two sections. The first would be “Relevant Experience” or “Related Experience”, to the job you’re seeking, followed by “Other Experience”. It would look like this:


ABC COMPANY, City, State, Dates of employment

Job Title

  • Details of tasks and accomplishments
  • Details of tasks and accomplishments
  • Details of tasks and accomplishments



DEF COMPANY, City, State, Dates of employment

Job Title

  • Details of tasks and accomplishments
  • Details of tasks and accomplishments
  • Details of tasks and accomplishments

Using this format also helps to hide gaps.

The certified writers at ResumeEdge have decades of experience in crafting achievement-based resumes for 40+ industries. We specialize in resume writing, resume editing, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles and interview coaching through our JobInterviewEdge service.


Darlene Z.

Darlene Zambruski is a resume writing expert and CPRW (Certified Professional Resume Writer) with more than 13 years of industry experience. She has authored 10,000+ resumes in every industry and at every career level.

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