How to Explain an Employment Gap on Your Resume
An employment gap on anyone’s resume can be the bane of a job seeker’s existence. As a medical professional, this issue becomes exacerbated by those questioning your competence as a physician as well as your dependability.
So how can doctors who have an employment gap on their resume explain this in a way that doesn’t restrict their job prospects? Here are some useful ways to discuss an employment gap in a productive manner.
Include the Gap on Your CV
Dealing with unemployment is about more than taking time to calculate total gross pay and figuring out how to fill the gaps in your income; you also need to consider how you’re detailing the gaps on your resume.
Many medical professionals make the mistake of omitting the gap on their CV. While it may seem more subtle than listing the gap as a period spent elsewhere, the omission can do more harm than good. Potential employers can start to wonder what you were doing during that period that you’re trying to hide.
Regardless of the reason, outline the dates on your CV as you would a period of employment. This will show a potential employer that you’re forthright and more than happy to answer any questions they may have about your gap in employment.
Highlight the Positives
If you have an extended gap in your employment record, highlight the positives gained from that situation. For example, if you spent the time to keep CPD points up to date or had an opportunity to volunteer during that period, make it known on your resume.
Have Evidence Ready
Whether you opt to discuss the gap in your cover letter or save it for the interview, you need to have supporting evidence to show that your competencies are up to date and that you’re ready to return to work. Even with something like leaving to care for a family member-- an understandable absence-- you must show that the issue has been resolved and will not be a distraction going forward.
If you experienced downsizing or restructuring resulting in a layoff, you must have documented evidence showing that the situation was out of your control. Additionally, having references highlighting your competence will be extremely valuable. If you were on leave due to a medical issue, having written clearance from another physician is ideal before applying to new positions.
In many countries, physicians are encouraged to take sabbaticals to restore their balance and wellbeing, improve their knowledge, and continue their career in a healthy way. There is plenty of evidence to support the benefits of taking a sabbatical, so if you took time away from work for personal reasons, consider highlighting the documented benefits of physician self-care.
During the job search process, focus on presenting yourself in the best possible light. Your experiences are valuable learnings that you can carry forth into the rest of your medical career.
How can we help?
Creating a CV that showcases your skills and experience in the best possible way is key to being considered for the top job prospects. Once you’re ready to take the next step in your career and you start to spruce up your CV, it’s a good idea to have someone review it. Why not ask a medical recruitment expert for input? Our experienced team of recruitment consultants will review your resume as part of our free service for Doctors.