Just because you have a period when you were unemployed doesn’t mean you can’t produce an effective resume.

In today’s world, employers know you could have been out of work for a number of reasons through no fault of your own, such as a company downsizing or restructuring.

Whatever caused your employment gap, writing a good resume in this situation means thinking strategically. Follow these three steps so that the next hiring manager’s focus is on your unique qualifications.

Use a hybrid resume

A hybrid resume — a combination of a chronological and functional resume — is the way to go when you have an employment gap. On a hybrid resume, first list your most important qualifications related to the position you’re applying for. Also, include work-related accomplishments you’ve earned along the way. Then, underneath, list your recent positions in reverse chronological order. As you can see, the hybrid resume allows you to get your potential employer’s attention right off the bat since he can focus on what you can bring to the position instead of seeing a work history with holes in it.

Note how you filled the gap

You may not have been employed full-time, but employers still want to know what you did to remain professionally active and engaged. In addition to listing previous positions in your work history, include non-work-related activities in which you gained professional skills. Did you freelance, volunteer or take classes? If so, list them along with your previous positions. Include as much information as you can, such as the dates, location and a short description of what was involved.

Anticipate questions with your cover letter

A cover letter is important part of writing a good resume but especially so with one that includes an employment gap. Anticipate questions your potential employer will have and explain them in your cover letter. Don’t sound defensive or apologetic. Just address your gap in employment and mention what you did to remain active during the time. Coupled with a hybrid resume, a good cover letter puts your potential employer’s focus where it should be: Why you’re the right person for the job.

What do you think is the best way to address employment gaps when you’re writing a good resume? Let us know in the comments section.

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