Feature a Career Break on Your Resume: 3 Expert Tips You Need to Know

Feature a Career Break on Your Resume: 3 Expert Tips You Need to Know

A career break is when someone takes time off work for personal, family, or health reasons. This can affect how employers see your work history and how relevant you are to their needs. In this article, we’ll talk about how to explain a career break on your resume in a way that helps you get more interviews and job offers.

Understanding the Impact of Career Breaks on Resume

A career break refers to a period of time when an individual takes time away from their professional work for various reasons. It can be due to personal circumstances, such as medical reasons or family care, or it could be the result of external factors like a layoff or termination. Regardless of the cause, career breaks can have a significant impact on resumes and how they are perceived by potential employers.

Defining a Career Break and its Relevance

A career break is essentially a gap in employment history where an individual is not actively working in a professional capacity. This gap can disrupt the continuity of a resume and raise questions about an applicant’s relevance to the target job. Hiring managers may wonder why there was a break and whether it has affected the candidate’s skills and qualifications.

Prevalence of Career Breaks

Career breaks have become increasingly prevalent, especially in recent times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many individuals have experienced layoffs or furloughs, resulting in extended periods of unemployment. Additionally, personal circumstances such as childcare responsibilities or taking care of elderly family members can also lead to career breaks.

Challenges Faced by Job Seekers with Career Breaks

Job seekers with career breaks often face unique challenges when it comes to presenting their resumes to potential employers. There may be biases or skepticism surrounding the impact of these breaks on an individual’s ability to perform effectively in a new role. Employers may question whether skills have become outdated or whether the candidate is truly committed to re-entering the workforce.

It is essential for job seekers to address these concerns proactively and strategically on their resumes. By doing so, they can alleviate any doubts that employers may have and increase their chances of being considered for job opportunities.

In the next section, we will explore key strategies that job seekers can employ to effectively address employment gaps on their resumes and overcome these challenges. We will discuss tactics for handling voluntary and involuntary employment gaps separately to provide specific guidance for each scenario.

Key Strategies for Addressing Employment Gaps on Your Resume

When it comes to addressing employment gaps on your resume, it’s essential to take a proactive approach. Leaving gaps unexplained can raise questions and potentially hinder your chances of landing an interview. By strategically addressing these gaps, you can demonstrate your commitment, skills, and value to the employer. Here are some key strategies to consider:

  1. Explain the Gaps: Rather than leaving the gaps on your resume unexplained, provide a brief explanation for each gap. Be honest and transparent about the reasons behind the break. This can help alleviate potential concerns and showcase your ability to handle personal or professional challenges.
  2. Highlight Relevant Activities: If you were engaged in any activities during your career break that are relevant to the job you’re applying for, make sure to highlight them. For example, if you were volunteering, freelancing, or working on personal projects that demonstrate transferable skills, include them in your resume. This shows that you remained active and continued to develop valuable skills during your break.
  3. Focus on Transferable Skills: Identify the transferable skills you gained or developed during your career break and emphasize them on your resume. These are skills that can be applied across different industries or roles, such as communication, problem-solving, project management, or leadership skills. By showcasing these skills, you can demonstrate your ability to contribute effectively in a new role.
  4. Address Voluntary and Involuntary Gaps Differently: There are different types of employment gaps – voluntary and involuntary. Voluntary gaps occur when you willingly take time off for personal reasons or to pursue other interests. Involuntary gaps happen due to circumstances beyond your control, such as being laid off or company downsizing. When addressing these gaps on your resume, tailor your explanation accordingly:
    • For voluntary gaps: Emphasize the purpose and value gained from the break. Explain how it allowed you to gain new perspectives, develop new skills, or explore different passions. Frame it as a deliberate choice that demonstrates self-awareness and personal growth.
    • For involuntary gaps: Focus on highlighting any activities you engaged in during the gap period that demonstrate your commitment to professional development. This could include attending workshops, taking online courses, or participating in industry-related events. Showcase your dedication to staying current and continuously learning despite the circumstances.

By implementing these strategies, you can effectively address employment gaps on your resume and present yourself as a valuable candidate to potential employers. Remember, it’s all about showcasing your relevant skills, experiences, and growth during the career break period.

Demonstrating Value Through Transferable Skills and Continuous Learning During a Career Break

When you’re on a career break, it’s important to show employers the value you can bring to their organisation, even if you haven’t been working in a traditional job. One way to do this is by highlighting your transferable skills—skills that are relevant across different industries and roles. You can also demonstrate your commitment to ongoing learning, which indicates that you’re proactive and dedicated to staying current in your field. Here’s how you can effectively showcase these aspects during your career break:

Emphasise Your Transferable Skills

Transferable skills are abilities that can be applied in various situations, making them valuable no matter where you work. To highlight your transferable skills:

  1. Identify relevant transferable skills: Take some time to think about the skills you have that would be useful in your desired job. These might include things like communication, leadership, problem-solving, or project management.
  2. Connect your transferable skills with job requirements: Customize your resume to emphasize these transferable skills and show how they align with the qualifications listed in the job posting. Use specific examples from your past experiences to demonstrate how you’ve used these skills successfully.
  3. Quantify your achievements: Whenever possible, provide measurable results for your accomplishments to give concrete evidence of what you can do. Instead of simply saying you have good communication skills, mention that you led a team of five people and improved communication efficiency by 20% through implementing a new strategy.

Showcase Your Ongoing Learning

Continuing to learn and grow professionally is crucial during a career break. It demonstrates to potential employers that you’re motivated and committed to staying up-to-date in your field. Here are some strategies to show your dedication to ongoing learning:

  1. Take advantage of online classes: Enroll in online courses or earn certifications related to your industry or the type of work you want to do. Platforms like Coursera, Udemy, or LinkedIn Learning offer a wide range of courses that allow you to learn at your own pace.
  2. Attend industry webinars: Make an effort to participate in webinars, virtual conferences, and other industry events to stay connected with the latest trends and developments. This shows that you’re eager to stay informed and engaged, even while not actively working.
  3. Get involved in side projects: Consider taking on meaningful projects or freelance work related to your field during your career break. This not only helps you gain practical experience but also adds credibility to your resume.

Remember, it’s important to highlight the transferable skills you’ve acquired or developed during your time away from traditional employment. Additionally, showcasing your commitment to continuous learning and professional growth will make you a valuable asset to potential employers.

By actively incorporating these elements into your resume, you can effectively address any concerns about your career break and increase your chances of getting interviews and job opportunities.

Leveraging Positive Mindset and Adaptability in Your Job Search Journey

When facing a job search with an employment gap, it’s crucial to maintain a positive attitude. Employers are drawn to candidates who exude positivity and resilience, as these traits often translate into strong work ethic and problem-solving skills. Emphasize your enthusiasm for returning to the workforce and showcase your eagerness to contribute positively to a new role.

Example: Instead of dwelling on the career break, focus on the valuable experiences and skills gained during that time, demonstrating how they make you a stronger candidate.

Practical Strategies for Staying Motivated

Job searching can be challenging, especially with a career break on your resume. Implementing practical strategies to stay motivated is essential. Set daily or weekly goals for your job search activities, such as networking outreach, skill development, or application targets. Celebrate small victories along the way to maintain momentum.

Example: Create a structured routine that includes dedicated time for job search activities, self-care, and personal interests to strike a healthy balance.

Leveraging Adaptability as a Strength

During job interviews, showcase your adaptability as a valuable strength developed during your career break. Share specific examples of how you successfully navigated changes or challenges in your personal or professional life. Highlight instances where you quickly adapted to new situations and effectively problem-solved.

Example: Describe how you utilized the career break period to explore diverse interests or industries, showcasing your openness to new experiences and willingness to embrace change.

By maintaining a positive mindset and leveraging adaptability as strengths during your job search journey, you can effectively address any concerns related to your career break while positioning yourself as a resilient and valuable candidate for prospective employers.


To wrap up, featuring a career break on your resume is not only important but also strategic in today’s job market. By following these expert tips, you can effectively address employment gaps and increase your chances of landing interviews and job opportunities:

Strategically feature your career break

Highlight transferable skills and continuous learning during your break to showcase your value to potential employers. Emphasize the relevance of these skills to the target job.

Address employment gaps proactively

Instead of leaving employment gaps unexplained, provide specific tactics for handling different types of gaps (voluntary or involuntary). This demonstrates transparency and professionalism.

Maintain a positive mindset

Job searching can be challenging, especially with a career break. Stay resilient, motivated, and adaptable throughout your job search journey. This positive attitude will shine through in interviews. Above all, remember to prioritize your mental health and well-being during a career break period. Taking care of yourself allows you to present the best version of yourself to potential employers. By strategically featuring your career break on your resume, you can enhance your chances of success while also prioritizing your overall well-being. So go ahead, confidently showcase your career break on your resume and embrace the opportunities that await you!