Gaps in a Resume Due to Depression (9 Explanations)

In this blog post, we will understand gaps in a resume due to depression in detail. We will understand how to formulate a resume positively and keep in mind certain things while explaining gaps in an interview.

Gap in Resume Due to Depression

If you have a gap in your resume due to depression, it is not something to be disheartened about. For one thing, if the gap in your resume due to depression or any other reason was far back, it probably won’t come up at all, because employers tend to look more at the more recent years of experience.

People have employment gaps in their resume for several reasons. Despite why they have a break, let us discuss how to formulate a resume so that the gaps are non-interfering. The following is a list of ways to be truthful about the gaps yet positively portray yourself:

Reframe How You Look at Gaps

Getting upset about your gaps does not help. Taking gaps resulting from depression implicates personal responsibility for your health and resilience in times of adversities. Working during a period of sickness is counterproductive. Utilize these traits to convey how instrumental you can be in carrying forward the company’s objectives.

Find Ways to Hide Early Gaps

If the gap occurred sometime early in your professional life, it is easy to handle them. Recruiters typically look for the most recent occupational history (i.e., last 15 years or so). Hence, if the employment gap dates way back, you can simply not include them. There will still be a flow in your resume, and you do not have to be concerned with explaining yourself. 

Honesty

You may be urged to shrug off your illness and not have to explain yourself while speaking with your hiring manager. However, you need to be honest. The best way to do this is to keep your explanations short.

You can restrict your explanations to merely stating that you had to tend to an illness, which is why you had to temporarily not work, but now you are better and would like to re-enter the job market. As per the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers must not discriminate against the recruits. However, keep in mind that it is not necessary to give all the details. 

Write in Years instead of Months

If your gaps are within a year or there were a limited number of gaps, you can merely detail previous employment in years rather than months (e.g., 2017-2019). This method does not work if there are several gaps or if the break is more significant than a year. 

Functional Resume

There are numerous resume templates available online. Each template caters to a different emphasis. It is not mandatory for your resume to be in a specific format listing out each successive job. Choose a resume layout that focuses on competency rather than occupational history.  

Writing jobs in successive order bring light to the employment gap. Choose a functional resume that focuses on the skills you are equipped with rather than the positions in which you have worked.

Bring Focus to Other Activities

Even if you were unemployed during the gap, you were likely occupied with something else. Display these responsibilities to convey to them that you were still improving yourself and honing your skills or developing new ones despite no income being involved. Some of these activities can be:

  • Freelance work
  • Parenting
  • Project work
  • Part-time job
  • Studying
  • Volunteering

Although not being conventionally employed, these responsibilities show that you were working.

Choose Your Company Wisely

There are some companies that are considerate toward mental illnesses being a reason for an employment gap. Typically, health and wellness companies are more open-minded and consider applicants who have taken a gap to tend to their mental health. 

A majority of organizations desire employees who resonate with their vision, mission, and even customers. Your psychological difficulties enable you to take a personal stance while writing the cover letter and convey resonance with the company’s values. 

Cover Letter

The ideal way to mention your illness is through the cover letter. You don’t need to outline the details of the disease. You can mention having to take time off to tend to a health matter, but now you are back on track and would like to continue your career.

This statement conveys to the hiring manager the reason for the gap while reiterating your eagerness to resume work.

Online Tools

It is always great to take some external help while formulating your resume. There are plenty of tools online that aid in this process. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Start writing your resume: Essayroo;
  • Writing guides: State Of Writing;
  • Thank you letters: Custom Essay;
  • Concise resume: Easy Word Counter;
  • Editing: BoomEssays;
  • Help from a professional writer: Resumention;
  • Grammar resources: Via Writing; and
  • Accurate citation of all sources: Cite It In.

No False Promises

Having become better, exhibit your value to the hiring manager. With that said, take caution not to overexert yourself as you are still on the road to recovery. To avoid such pressure, commit only within your capabilities, and not make false promises. You can be an excellent employee, even while restricting yourself within means. Try to work smart and not hard.

Explaining Gaps During an Interview

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 90% of people had faced unemployment at some point in their careers. This statistic shows us that all of these people have experienced the necessity to explain their employment gap. There are several reasons to explain a gap in employment. 

However, the most challenging of these to explain is a mental health issue. Let us see a few tips while explaining employment gaps resulting from emotional problems.

Be Positive

When you are experiencing a gap due to professional burnout from the previous job, instead of condoning the workspace and employers, try focusing on the excitement from new opportunities. These opportunities could be going back to school, improving your psychological well-being, re-assessment of career goals, honing your skills. 

Be honest about your time off without portraying it negatively. You could mention taking time off to further your education and catering to familial responsibilities. Now you are looking forward to resuming your professional life and engage in new workplace culture.  

Emphasizing the positives regarding your gap would convey a better message than focusing on the negative reasons. Give specifics regarding your time off. Indicate how you managed to stay updated in your field of expertise, for example, courses or training you undertook or volunteering work done—mentioning these points to your preparation for re-entering the area.

Express Voluntariness

Emphasize that you left instead and were not asked to leave. Expressing this conveys that you did it out of choice and were not made to go based on your performance. Moreover, find ways to describe the impact of a highly stressful environment without coming across as you not being equipped to deal with job pressures.

Without condemning the previous employment, you can tell the recruiter why you chose to leave. It could be because the work culture was not suitable for you or that the job profile and company were not what you were informed they would be. There are several manners to frame your answer, and the only person who knows the gap’s reality is you. 

In the event of explaining a personal reason, let them know you took a break to focus on yourself and your health. This gap allowed you to prepare yourself for new challenges. You are eagerly looking forward to the opportunities ahead of you, such as the position for which you have applied and are interviewing.

Conclusion

In this blog post, we saw more about gaps in a resume due to depression. Further, we outlined ways to formulate a resume in a positive light and explain your gaps during an interview. 

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

Frequently Asked Questions: 

Is a gap in your resume alarming?

Gaps in a resume are not as alarming as lying about the same. You must avoid altering the employment dates to make it seem like a shorter gap or that they are still working in the organization. The recruiter or employer is allowed to do a background check, and the repercussion may be that the person gets fired for lying.

What should I say when there is a gap in my resume?

You need to be prepared to: 

Explain the reason for their gap;
Have short explanations;
Provide reassurance to the recruiter; and
Convey to them the takeaways you had during the gap year.

Is there a best way to explain gaps?

Being honest about your gap year is essential. Some of the valid reasons for gaps are as follows:

Taking care of an ill relative;
Medical or health conditions;
Undergoing professional training;
Went back to school;
Taking care of a child;
Moving to another place; and 
Finding employment in a new place.

What duration of an employment gap is considered harmful?

Nine months or longer is quite disadvantageous as there is an increased risk of being dropped off in interview requests, according to one study. This disadvantage is real for both low and medium-skilled positions.

Does it look bad to have a gap in employment?

No, it is not bad to have a gap, no matter the reason. It is crucial for you to not feel any guilt or shame regarding your occupational history. The way a recruiter feels is typically reflective of how the applicant feels. The applicant must be honest and never lie on their resume.

Is it possible to get a job after a gap of two years?

Yes, it is possible to get a job, but it is difficult. You can attend walk-in interviews. There are specific organizations that do not look into the year of passing. With adequate skills, a person can even consider freelancing. 

If my gap is because I am a stay-at-home mother, how do I explain this in my resume?

Under work history, merely mention that you were bringing up children in this period. Using appropriate words, convey to them that raising children was the primary reason you quit your previous job. Doing this can help cover the gap in your employment. 

How to get a job after a gap of 3 years?

Follow some of these tips to go about getting a job after three years of the gap:

Choose in which field you would like to work;
Pursue a short-term course, ideally one that is online;
Pursue an internship upon completion of the course;
Apply for jobs during the internship; and
Try to join a startup or a small- to medium-sized enterprise (SME).

What does one mean by a gap in a CV?

A gap in a CV refers to the period of unemployment. This break could occur for several reasons. Recruiters identify those gaps that are of several months to years.

Can I land a job after a gap of 5 years?

Yes, it is possible to land a job after a gap of 5 years. Those people with intervals of long periods should put in time, effort, money, and other required resources to hone their skills to re-enter the job market.

Is there any good reason to have a gap in employment?

Yes, every reason is a valid one. Some people take time off by choice, such as taking care of an ill family member, raising a child, or going back to school. Some people have a gap in which they had no choice, such as getting fired or felt like they needed to search for a new job. 

What we recommend for depression

Professional counselling

If you are suffering from depression then ongoing professional counselling may be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.

References

https://fairygodboss.com/articles/women-weigh-in-how-do-i-explain-a-stressrelated-gap-in-employment

https://careersidekick.com/explaining-gaps-in-employment/

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Sara Quitlag is an Applied Psychologist, with a deep interest in psychopathology and neuropsychology and how psychology impacts and permeates every aspect of our environment. She has worked in Clinical settings (as Special Ed. Counselor, CBT Therapist) and has contributed at local Universities as a Faculty member from time to time. She has a graduate degree in English Literature and feels very connected to how literature and psychology interact. She feels accountable and passionate about making a "QUALITY" contribution to the overall global reform and well-being. She actively seeks out opportunities where she can spread awareness and make a positive difference across the globe for the welfare of our global society.