It happens, planned or unplanned, for good and bad reasons, that we are out of a job for a while. How can we explain this and make sure it doesn’t harm our chances of getting hired again?

No matter how unexpected the events are that lead to a gap in our employment history, it is vital that we plan our time while we are out of work. Doing nothing should never be an option. For example, new Moms can get involved in Mommy and Me groups – maybe even lead a group, start a part-time business related to child care, take on-line classes (many of them are free), write articles for on-line Mom groups, start a blog etc. etc. You may not be paid for any of these activities but they will provide rich material for your resume as well as helping you remain as fulfilled as possible in your new life role.

Sometimes our activities, while out of work, give us a foot-in-the-door when we are ready to reenter the workforce. Sometimes a hobby we are passionate about leads to a business or job opportunity.

If a serious and sudden injury or illness is the cause of a gap it can be much more difficult to remain active while out of work, however even if home-bound or in the hospital we can find small things to do that help us to maintain a positive attitude and prove to a potential future employer that we are worthy of their attention.

If you are fit and well, get out and volunteer as much as possible. Try to find something that complements your career choice or helps to prepare you for a career you would like to move into. Not only does this provide experience for your resume it also affords you valuable networking opportunities that could help you in your job search.

In our experience it is not the gap itself that is the problem on a resume, but the fact that it appears someone has been “idle” for a while. This is usually not the case, so fill that gap with all the things you have been able to accomplish while out of work. How have you used your “out of work” time to make yourself more marketable?