How can I properly explain a big gap in my resume to a potential employer?


Don't worry about the fact that you "failed". What you presumably did is work hard, and learn a lot, and probably created some quality stuff, regardless of whether it ended up being published. That's usually all your potential employers will care about.

The people that work for companies that end up going out of business aren't considered failures. They generally produced quality work but their company may have just not been able to find / convince the right customers, which is equivalent to you not having found the right publisher. This is an optimistic way to look at it, but that doesn't mean it's not true in your case.

I would publish whatever unfinished books you have on Amazon as e-books. Make a title and cover image. That way they're 'published' immediately, and each book will even get a DOI and/or PMID #. Then you can continue to edit them and finish them whenever you have time (see:

Meanwhile, if you have other non-book writings, try publishing them as guest-blogger posts on other people's existing blogs.

best of luck,


Answered 7 years ago

Simple. Be honest about what happened along the way. Potential employers and HR folks are people too. Tell them the story of what happened, what you learned, and why you are coming to them now. By being honest and transparent, you'll have a differentiation that other applicants won't have: your story. And in the sea of fluffy resumes and stiff cover letters, everyone loves a good story. Good luck!

Answered 7 years ago

IDK why you erased the details you initially provided in addition to the question: they made it a lot easier to answer.

I don't remember all of them, but you moved to the US from France to give it a shot as a writer?

So you will always run into two kinds of people, no matter what you're doing:

1 > people who DON'T LIKE what you're doing


2 > people who DO LIKE what you're doing.

Your job...your resume's to filter out the first type and appeal to the second.

Right now you have some head trash about your time trying to make things work in America. You have a negative, fearful point of view about the experience. Yet other people may well be impressed by that same experience: that you took a risk, that you committed to it for a long time, and that you interacted with a different culture.

Instead of viewing this experience and section on your resume as "failure", start seeing it as "adventurous success"! You did something millions, maybe even billions, of people around the world are too scared to try. Having changed countries myself, I know exactly how challenging it is (No bank account? No history with anyone or any company? No safety net of friends to rely on? Nice!). And Type 2 employers will be equally impressed.

Notice how nearly all of the emotional contorting you're doing is generated by and carried out within you. Has any employer actually stated your American experience is a negative? I bet not. It's all in your head. So change your point of view on the experience.

Most people think the resume's purpose is to get you the job. No. The resume's job is to get you the interview. Make the employer interested enough to want to meet you. That's it. The resume is a marketing piece for the product, "YOU."

So get your headline up for the resume section...the big point you want to filter for and have Type 2 employers take away from reading. This is how you stand out, which is one of the necessary things your resume must do to be successful. Then list some bullet points underneath about key elements of that experience...the things you bring back to employers that other people who safely stayed home in France never got and will never have.

Start seeing this experience as an asset instead of a liability.

Answered 7 years ago

Demonstrate superior performance in all your other experiences. Employers today face the challenge that many in the younger workforce are not self-starters, are not self-teaching, capacity to solve problems, and are limited in their motivations / willingness to work and . For example, my first job after my costly MBA was to run a factory of 800 people in a far away land. I made 23 of the 25 mistakes one should never make as a General Manager. I talk/laugh about that experience a lot, and often "reveal" that my salary was $256 dollars per month. I tell this story because you too need to be able to tell your story in a provocative and compelling way. So practice it with people who have hired people before. And in the sections where you were employed, show how how you knocked it out of the park. If you show these self-starter competencies, just about every recruiter will over-look the gap, and if they question you, and you have a good story to tell, you will make it to next round. Good luck!

Answered 7 years ago

Great question. The simple answer is honesty. But to be more specific, polished honesty. As someone who has done all levels of recruiting and contracting, honesty takes you a long way.

A few tips: regardless of why there was a gap (let go from a job, bad situation, went back to school etc.) remain positive. We love to see what you learned or were able to take away from your experience.
Also, don't exclude failures from the conversation. Don't make them the focus of an interview, but I loved to meet people who acknowledged times when they had failed, showed me how they learned from it, and most importantly how they overcame and moved forward. Failure is a great learning tool if you choose to see it that way.

Don't let a gap in your resume hinder you from going after what you really want. The worst you can hear is feedback on why you might not be a great fit. Take it constructively and prepare for something that will be the right fit to propel your career to the next level.

Good luck!

Answered 7 years ago

If you are looking for a midcareer position, an entry-level role from decades ago is probably not truly relevant. For example, you could say 2017 - 2019 for a position. Then, if your next job began in November 2019, you could list it as 2019 - Present, which makes the nine-month employment gap less obvious. Explaining a gap in employment during an interview can be tricky. If you were laid off due to a workforce contraction, it would be important to provide any evidence of strong performance as you explain the circumstances surrounding the downsizing.
Besides if you do have any questions give me a call:

Answered 4 years ago

Focus on what you have done! Everybody has the right to take time for themselves it can be simply put as time that was devoted or spent on personal development! I believe in being honest but you don't have to go into a deep explanation either.

Answered a year ago

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