2008 challenged my survival after being laid-off. Three gravely ill family members required me to care for them, sadly until they passed away. Making a few attempts to start a home business and presently I'm struggling with formatting/ writing an eye-catching resume. How can I explain a 10-year gap on my resume?


3 Answers 3


How can I explain a 10-year gap on my resume?

On your resume, you just leave the gap in place.

When asked you explain what you did during those 10 years. You cared for three gravely ill family members and you attempted to start your own businesses.

There's nothing to be ashamed about and nothing to hide.

You can go into more detail in a cover letter if you wish, but not in a resume.

  • 8
    "When asked you explain" - except he will likely NOT be asked. He will just not be invited to an interview.
    – TomTom
    Commented Sep 14, 2018 at 19:03
  • 1
    I don't understand this advice. What are the disadvantages of putting an explanation in the resume? Commented Sep 20, 2018 at 15:04

Simple: you don't have a gap on your resume. What you put in your resume is... what you were doing at that time. I'd format it slightly differently (maybe italicised?) to make it clear that it's unpaid and therefore different to my other experience.

Carer for terminally ill family members

2008 - 2016

I took a career break to care for three terminally ill family members

You can even add what you learnt in this "role" if you like.

This has helped me to deal with working under pressure and has taught me patience and perseverance

For running your own business, put that too. It's a business, not unpaid work, so you can put it as any other job

Small business owner


I ran multiple home businesses. From these I gained an understanding of bookkeeping, planning/logistics and consumer legislation

Basically, it's the same principle as when you applied for your first "real" office job: you included being the treasurer of your university sports team, and stacking shelves at your local supermarket, as they demonstrate a few basic skills and show that you weren't just lounging on the sofa watching TV all day.


As a recruiter my fear with someone with a so long career gap would be that he or she has lost some work habit and some technological skill (if applicable), requiring a longer time to adapt.

You don't need to explain why you didn't work in that time in CV or cover letter, but having recent activity, training or projects to relate would certainly help getting hired.

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