I'm a software engineer.

My job history looks as follows:

  • Company B, 2009 - present
  • Company A, 2004 - 2006, 2008 - 2009.

So, there is a time 2006 - 2008, during which I was in the army (There is a compulsory service in my country). This kind of activity has (almost) nothing in common with my profession, so, I don't think it's very good idea to put army years at my resume. On the other hand, it leaves the unemployment gap non-explained.

I would be glad to hear suggestions on it.

  • As an aside, to the answers below, if this is compulsory service and you're applying outside your country I would try and make very clear that it was compulsory service in your CV and covering letter. For countries without compulsory service, a two year break to go and join the army may look odd, but no-one will think negatively of you for doing the same thing because of compulsory service. Commented Jun 23, 2017 at 12:02
  • Just want to make a comment: service in the army most certainly has things in common with your current profession. Ability to work with others. Ability to take direction and achieve results. Being able to operate under pressure. Etc. Just because it's not actively using a specific technical skill doesn't mean it's not relevant to a CV! :-)
    – Kevin
    Commented Feb 1, 2019 at 21:02

4 Answers 4


I'm struggling to understand your difficulty here. You know you need to explain the gap and the gap is for a completely legitimate and normal/understandable reason in your country. I quite literally can't think of a negative in putting it in your CV.

In addition, it seems like getting a job after would be the hurdle, but you've already done that and moved on to the tune of 6 years! Put it in, take the positives you can out of it (Any experience that would prove personal characteristics like leadership etc), but leave the focus on your relevant experience.

  • 6
    Agree 100%. If the compulsory military service "has (almost) nothing in common with [your] profession", then don't waste any significant space on it, but of course you should put a line with "2006 -- 2008 : Military Service" in between the two spells at Company A. Commented Mar 29, 2015 at 0:50

Include your time in the armed services on your CV. While it may not directly relate to your profession, there are many skills you likely picked up (e.g. discipline, working under pressure) that could be broadly applicable. It also fills the gap, as you say. If service is compulsory, there is unlikely to be any stigma attached to it.

  • The interesting thing is how this affects positions abroad? In some countries, primarily US, I think there is a stigma attached to serving in the military. I'm sure there are many other countries like that, too. Will they understand the difference of voluntary and required by law military service? Commented Mar 30, 2015 at 10:59
  • @JuhaUntinen I would like to think most people separate those that put their lives in the line in the service of their country from the politicians that order them into action. Put it this way, if you had served in the military, would you want to work for someone or an organization that looked down upon those that have served in the military?
    – akton
    Commented Mar 30, 2015 at 11:12

You might be able to say Company A 2004 - 2009 if you were on a military leave of absence. I have reviewed resumes where reserve soldiers who were activated for six month to one year tours, they were still considered employees while on active duty. They even had job protection rights.

You will still note your military service as a separate entry on the CV/resume.


I'd say that you don't need to mention in your CV that you did your military service in 2006-2008 unless you feel strongly that your fox hole digging skills, walking hundreds of klicks carrying loads that would cause a mule to faint and getting screamed at by your NCOs and having your butt kicked by them are skills that your prospective employers value as enhancing your effectiveness in whatever profession you are in now.

You can very well mention your military service in your cover letter if you want to emphasize that you were not in jail at the time - although there are plenty of countries where being in jail is less painful than being in the army, but that's another story for another day :)

However, the best place to mention that you were in the army at that time is in any of your applications for work where you want to indicate that you were NOT in the Big House a the time :)

  • 2
    In my experience, most people will be suspicious of a non contiguous CV. It's one thing to drop off old experience, but having missing years is just going to cause people to ponder and its easier to bin a CV than it is to find out - especially if the competition is strong. Addiitonally, the people doing the sifting don't always get or read the cover letter so I only ever use them as enhancements and never rely on it being read.
    – Dan
    Commented Mar 29, 2015 at 0:03
  • @Dan I understand that SOME companies'HR don't bother with reading cover letters but every single one of those companies that I have applied to in the last 25 years asked for a cover letter. I wouldn't bother applying to any company that does not want a cover letter. As for those who would bin a strong resume over a gap without asking question, it's their loss. Commented Mar 29, 2015 at 0:08
  • 5
    This is an incredibly ignorant view on what is actually involved in military service
    – HorusKol
    Commented Mar 30, 2015 at 1:51
  • @Horuskol Say that I don't know what I am talking about at your own risk: 1. Many of the world's armies are indifferently run to horribly run outfits. An example in point is the Russian army, where the brutality and scope of hazing are in a class of their own. The Australian armed forces are an example where the lowest ranked soldiers are treated with dignity and respect and learning is constant. Don't assume that it's the case everywhere; 2. There is a huge difference in quality between a conscript army and a volunteer army - none of the US armed forces chiefs wants to go back to the draft; Commented Mar 31, 2015 at 13:12
  • @Horuskol 3. Higher quality personnel means that money is spent on turning out better trained, higher quality soldiers rather than remediating deficiencies say in basic education among the recruits and focusing the initial training on some very low common denominator instead of a higher common denominator. There is, for example, no comparison between Argentine conscripts and the British Gurkhas. Conscript armies like the Israeli and Vietnamese armies are the exception rather than the rule. Commented Mar 31, 2015 at 13:13

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .