Friday, February 1, 2013

How Sales Reps Can Handle Gaps in Their Resume

You might well be surprised at the number of people who have gaps in their resume. You also might be wondering what’s wrong with gaps in employment, especially if you work in the modular housing industry. Well, there isn’t necessarily anything fundamentally wrong with it but you want the employer who is reading your resume to understand there is a legitimate reason why the gaps are there, and for them not to be concerned. You’ll want to put a positive spin on it.

If you have one of those with gaps in your resume, you need to be prepared to explain why.  Most employers will understand. They’ve probably been there themselves. The difference is they are looking for the legitimate reasons for the gaps. 

Some of the best ways to spin the gaps in your resume are:

Be honest. Don’t try to hide anything. It’s not so unusual so don’t make it a bigger deal than it needs to be. Most people have experienced sales reps have this at least once in their career.

Flaunt it. If you took this time to improve yourself and your skill set, it’s a positive and will make you into a more valuable candidate.

Make use of history. Perhaps, the gap overlaps a certain period of time that experienced difficulty like the past 5 years in the modular home industry. Perhaps there was an event in your life that caused you to not go on such an intensive job search because of an ill parent or family member, or recover from an injury. Oftentimes the job interviewer can relate because perhaps, they too, have experienced what you have gone through.  

Let them know it was by choice. This may take the form of explaining how you were trying to be selective to find the perfect fit when targeting the companies you were interested in and contemplating job offers.

Explain the major gaps. If you have a period of two or more years, list and explain everything you were doing at that time; improving your skill set, volunteering at the soup kitchen, traveling, internships, family projects/issues now resolved.

List only the years, and not the months when writing a resume. It masks gaps that have happened within the span of a couple of years and it‘s a quicker read about how long you stayed at each job. Using years and not months can make it appear there are no gaps.

Be careful. Try not to refer to illness, unemployment and rehabilitation because it could red-flag the employer that you might be at high-risk for their company. Instead focus on something positive you were doing during that time, even if it has little relevance to your job objective.

Do your best to explain away the gaps in your resume. They can be spun to be a positive thing. Remember, you are not alone. Most every sales rep has them in their resume. If you make a point to give gaps in your resume a positive spin to show how it made you a better more qualified person, most employers will probably understand. They’ve probably been there themselves.      

Cathy L. Sage is President of Robert Sage Careers, LLC; an Executive Search Firm and Job Board Publisher that specializes in the Factory-Built Structures Industries. Cathy can be reached at (727) 504-5350 or

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