Explaining a Resume Gap After An Illness
So how should an individual who’s been inflicted with an illness, and ready to return to the workforce, explain their respective gap on the resume due to the illness?
First off, and this is regarding your answer regarding the gap during an interview with the recruiter or hiring manager, do not over-elaborate. They do not need to know each and every detail about your illness, outcome, the stakeholders involved, etc. You can state, “I had to leave to enter into treatment for my illness. But I am fully healthy and recovered and ready to return to the workforce. In my time off, I also completed some continuing education, or volunteered, or gained some experiential learning in the field I am targeting, or I took on some gig economy jobs.”
Just make sure to be honest and direct, and stick to only the relevant points without discussing your actual infliction or diagnosis. Your goal is to move over this question as quickly and as clarified as possible so the hiring managers will shrug it off and focus more on your accomplishments, rather than this red flag.
In terms of on the resume, make sure to be a little creative to minimize the gap effect. Some ideas are to
1. make it a functional or combinational resume format over the chronological
2. change your work history that may include months and years into only years
3. provide a minor explanation as to why you left your role, however, if you go this route, make it consistent (i.e., write in the explanation for each job — this can get sticky if you have a poor work history)
4. use the space to add in a filler role, such as a “freelance professional” or “contractor” and list out any services you may have provided in either a gig-type role, or as a volunteer; you can almost essentially use this as a job to fill in between the other roles
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