You’re composing or updating your web development resume when you realize that the months or years in which you list employment don’t add up. They don’t represent a steady career path - there are gaps in between, some small and others sizable.
As a web developer, employment gaps don’t have to make your resume look bad. Consider the tips listed below to polish your resume until it shines.
The following tips will help you solve the problem of employment gaps in your web developer resume. Learn more about including problem-solving skills on your resume here.
What Is a Career Gap?
A career gap is any time you are unemployed for a sizable amount of time after entering the workforce. Job searches can take months, so a few months between jobs is not regarded as a career gap. Gaps of a year or more are.
Ways to Fix Career Gaps
Several methods can be used to draw attention away from your career gaps.
List Years, Not Months
Many resume templates ask you for the month and year that each of your jobs began and ended. While this is a common format, it is not required. You may find that simply leaving off the months helps your career gap to disappear.
For example, imagine that your company closed its doors in May 2020, leaving you unemployed. Despite your job search, you were unable to get a job until December 2021. That’s a career gap of 19 months - almost two years. But, if you simply list the jobs by the year - 2020 and 2021 - no gap is apparent.
Fill the Gap With Relevant Activity
If you’re currently experiencing a career gap, you can strive to fill it with gig employment or skills acquisition. This can help you to avoid having a noticeable gap in the first place.
If you are working as a freelancer, consider naming your business (and getting a business license). In this way you can include your company in your work experience list as you would any other business.
Remember to include any schooling in the education section. Classes or other training - even if you just take a class online - can turn your career gap from a negative to a positive!
Explain the Gap
Life happens, and it can affect our careers. Employers are aware of this; some may have faced challenges that pulled them away from their work for a time. You can briefly mention the reason for your absence in your cover letter or interview. This method may be applied to career gap causes such as:
Illness or injury
Caring for a relative
Going back to school
Suitable employment not available
When you explain your career gap, be careful not to focus too long on negative circumstances or divulge too much information, especially if doing so makes you visibly emotional. State the reason for the absensce in a single sentence.
If you experienced unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic, you are in luck. Why? Employers understand the unique extenuating circumstances at that time - the economic crisis, layoffs, closures, supply chain issues, and the so-called Great Resignation. They faced pandemic-related challenges, too. So, if your employment gap takes place between March 2020 and the end of the pandemic, no explanation is necessary.
Use a Functional Resume Format
The functional resume format can be ideal if your career hasn’t had the step-by-step progression employers might expect. This is because functional resumes focus on skills and abilities rather than experience and education.
In fact, skills are listed and elaborated on front and center in a functional resume. Also, functional resumes are unique in the way years worked are reported. Because skills needed for a job may not have been learned in reverse-chronological order, jobs don’t have to be listed that way. Put your most relevant experience at the top of the list. Instead of listing dates, put the number of years that you worked with a company. For example, your listing might look like this:
ABC Manufacturaing Company, Cincinnati, OH
You may also consider using a hybrid or combination resume format. It combines the skills-focus of the functional resume with the reverse-chronological listing style.
In using the methods above, remember to always be honest in what you include in your resume. It is okay to draw the hiring manager’s attention away from a glaring career gap, but you should never submit misleading or false information. If you were fired from a previous job, don’t try to hide it. This, when discovered, will reflect much more poorly on you than the career gap ever could. Instead, if you are asked about the termination, explain what you learned from the experience that will make you a better employee in the future.