I was recently contacted by a recruiter who looked at my resume on my linkedin profile.

I have had two positions, but only listed the most recent one. The recruiter asked me why I didn't list the other job I had.

I had the first job for a year, but left it off because there was a gap of four months between the first job and the second (my current job).

While this recruiter seemed to accept the explanation, I feel like I should have a better answer prepared. How can I explain a gap like this in my resume?

  • "Why is the one job not listed on the resume?" - You may be asked this question and should have a decent answer.
    – JB King
    Feb 17 '14 at 7:04
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    what are some good reasons I can list? maybe not listing it because of the gap seems like a bad excuse Feb 17 '14 at 7:53
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    Hey javastudent, and welcome to The Workplace. I'm going to tidy up your post a bit with an edit to try to make it a bit clearer. If you think I missed something or the edited version won't get you the answers you are looking for, please feel free to improve it with an edit of your own. Thanks in advance!
    – jmac
    Feb 17 '14 at 8:21
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    You should put the job on the resume. Even if you were fired, even if you did have an employment gap. Starting out your professional career by lying is not a good choice. Now if you have more than 10 years experience you can drop off old jobs, but to leave them out when you have so little experience is a red flag. If the job was totally irrelevant (like say working at McDonalds) that would be OK to leave off, but I don't get the impression this is the case. Be ready to talk about why you left or what went wrong if the job was really left off because you got fired.
    – HLGEM
    Feb 17 '14 at 14:53
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    I will also point out that since the recruiter asked you about it, it is clearly easy for anyone doing a backgroud check to find out about it, that makes it far worse to leave it off. YOu feel uneasy about your explanation becasue you don't have a good reason for leaving it off. I would not be interested in hiring you if you gave me that excuse, it shows a lack of ethics because it shows you are trying to hide something.
    – HLGEM
    Feb 17 '14 at 14:56

It's not really bad to have holes in your CV. I got a 1,5 year long hole where I had nothing but a few courses and some training in fork truck driving, but none of them were relevant to my initial education. I've also left out the year I was in building and construction class, it went horrible, to say the least... So, whenever someone ask about the holes, be honest but do not worry about details. In your case the honest answer can simply be "I did not feel I gained any meaningful experience from that job that is not already reflected in my CV"

To point it out, stamping papers for a year is NOT 1 year experience of paper stamping, so if you go to another job to do paper stamping, you really don't need to mention the previous paper stamping job in any future CV edition.

  • I can't make any sense at all of that 2nd paragraph.
    – Paul
    Feb 18 '14 at 14:41
  • I was trying to say that, if you go trough several jobs, doing the exact same thing in all of them, there is no real need to list all those jobs. You do not gain any real experience out of doing the same thing over and over, trying something new will.
    – Sharain
    Feb 18 '14 at 18:32
  • Yeah sorry, that sounds like bad advice to me.
    – Paul
    Feb 21 '14 at 11:13

Now this depends upon what experience you mention you have in first place. If the times you have worked don't add up then the recruiter will express a doubt. These doubts could be on various topics like experience gaps, academic gaps, and so on. Perhaps you may have done consultancy work, volunteering or something similarly useful but if you don't show that in your resume, it lets enough room for doubt. So, first thing that you should do is show all your experience, relevant or otherwise, on your CV.

Next, about the gaps, I must tell my personal experience. I worked at a place for three months on contract and then was asked to resign because I had failed in my final year exams. In the next six months I cleared those papers and got another job. Later when I went looking for a better job, a lot of recruiters asked me the reason behind the gap. Most of the times I'd tell them the half-truth - that it was a contract job. The next question was inevitable- "How can we trust you if you can hop a job in months?" That would always leave me speechless. Finally once I told a recruiter the whole truth- that I failed and got fired. They did not grill me further, instead hired me for the profile I wanted and a pay beyond my expectations. Sometimes it is best we tell the whole truth.

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    Not sometimes. Usually. ;-)
    – user8036
    Feb 17 '14 at 14:00

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