What about addressing gaps in employment? I know this is a fairly discussed topic but still relevant for many of today’s job seekers (myself included). Specifically, how should job seekers address gaps, and reasons for them, outside of cover letters?


There are a few ways to address this question. Some of the most common reasons for leaving years unaccounted for on a resume may include taking time off to have a baby/raise a family, going back to school for higher education or technical training, enrollment in the military, recovering from a traumatic accident or illness, caring for an elderly parent or sick child for an extended period of time, residence in a rehabilitation facility, or incarceration. Certain reasons are more favorable than others.

You might try a Functional resume instead of a Chronological resume. That way the focus will be more on your skills, strengths and talents and less about the gaps in employment.


Are you seeing much stigma still about new mothers who have taken time off, people who have had to take care of elderly parents, or other family/personal matter?


One of the most common reasons for a significant gap in employment history is taking time off to raise a family. Do not omit the dates! By leaving off dates of employment on a resume, you will raise more questions than if you list dates from the 1970’s or 1980’s. However, in the time that you were not formally employed in your field, you may have gained additional experience while you were out of the workforce which should be included on your resume.

  • Were you the treasurer of a civic organization for the past five years?
  • Were you an unpaid docent in the local museum?
  • Did you direct or plan activities as a volunteer for an after-school center?
  • Were you a sports coach or Scoutmaster on the weekends or during the evenings?

List this experience, dates, and responsibilities under a section on the resume entitled Additional Experience.

The second most common reason for gaps in employment history is faced by job seekers with disabilities, illness, or family-related issues. Again, the advice is to not include any mention of your particular handicap, disability, or medical history in the resume — it is against the law regarding equal opportunity employment rules. In the same way that the returning worker must address the absence of years on a resume, the disabled job seeker should use a functional resume format to address gaps in years of employment or changes in fields of interest. If you were able to take any classes or technical training or work part-time or volunteer at all while in rehabilitation from an automobile accident, caring for an elderly parent or staying by the side of a child undergoing medical treatment, these can and should be included on the resume under Additional Experience.

The common thread in all of these cases is to highlight your skills and accomplishments so that your overall experience and knowledge can be presented to your best advantage.


How do you stand out when significantly more experienced candidates are being considered for the same job you’re applying?


The answer is personal branding by focusing on what makes you unique.?? Because companies have so many candidates to choose from, they are interviewing more people so that they can select the “best.”

When you are lucky enough to be invited to an interview, it is essential that you have gone through the personal branding process and are ready to sell yourself, to let the interviewers know what makes you unique and what added value you can bring to the position- in other words, why you are the best person for the job. ?By doing some basic personal branding preparation, you can determine your uniqueness and where you should focus your attention.


I have a cousin on Coronado needing help finding a job in the arts as a curator, overly highly education, so having a hard time receiving qualified offers. Any ideas?


I want to clarify your question – your cousin is highly educated in his career choice and is having difficulty receiving a job offer worthy of his education? I hope I am correct in my assumption. If so, please understand the following.

While a master’s degree in art history or a related field is generally required by many museums, educational requirements may vary substantially based on the organization. For example, large institutions may require an applicant to have a doctorate, while small art museums, similar to those found here in the San Diego area, may consider a candidate with a bachelor’s degree.

Previous work experience is required by most organizations, and even students can participate in internships to gain hands-on training working with an experienced art curator.

Your cousin may not be able to get the position they desire right away. If all their education and experience match up, and they feel over qualified, but they want to stay in this market – accepting a less qualified position and proving their worth over time, renegotiating their position in the future might be in their best interest.


Any thoughts on the best way to search for board positions. What company is strongest in that regard?


How do I land the jobs I am really interested in when I am told I am "over qualified"? I am at a point in life where doing good and being happy is important…not just about the money.

Categories: Good Morning San Diego, Job Tips with Phil Blair