Employment Gaps

You may need to adjust your résumé to account for employment gaps or jobs you only held for a short time. Your failure to address these gaps may eliminate you from consideration. Perhaps you needed to leave the labor force to raise your family or care for a family member. Employers will perceive you to be a viable, competitive candidate if you describe how you took advantage of this time to continue learning and obtaining relevant skills.

Documenting Problems: Gaps, Short Stints, and Merging Companies


Recruiters carefully review résumés and will notice any gaps in either employment or education. While rare, any anomaly should be addressed. For example, perhaps a student was ill for half a semester and did not graduate in the expected year. Perhaps they had an opportunity to live in another country for a prolonged period of time. A résumé will state the timeline, but the cover letter can be used for more of an explanation. It is best to consult a professional because this situation can be a bit of a minefield.

Short Stints

Recruiters appreciate longevity at a company. If you have worked two summers at the same company, that proves your worth to your employer because they rehired you. If you have jumped from one company to another in short periods of time, that can be considered a disadvantage.

Merging Companies

A list of the top one hundred companies today is vastly different from a list of the top one hundred companies from ten years ago. If you worked for a company that has now merged with another company and no longer has the same name, simply list the name of the new company and put the previous company's name in parentheses. Here is an example:

Pfizer (premerger Warner-Lambert), New York, New York

Key Takeaways

  • Recruiters review a résumé in seven to ten seconds, yet are trained to identify gaps of any kind.
  • Recruiters appreciate candidates who have repeat work experiences at a certain employer, such as working at one company for two consecutive summers.
  • Companies often merge with other companies, so note the new name first and put the company's original name in parentheses.

Creative Commons License This text was adapted by Saylor Academy under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work's original creator or licensor.

Last modified: Tuesday, August 18, 2020, 12:40 PM