Unemployment Gaps on Your Resume Due to Illnesses
You may have been unable to work briefly due to an illness, or because you sustained injuries in an accident. As you look for a new job, you may have to explain these employment gaps if they show up on your resume. If you explain them properly, they shouldn't hinder your chances of getting the position.
Structuring Your Resume
Your resume should list the most recent jobs you've had, especially as they relate to the position for which you're applying. If you have employment gaps due to an illness, there are ways to structure your resume so that these are less apparent. When listing the time period of each job, use the year for your start and end date, rather than the month. This way, if your employment gap occurred for only a few months in the middle of a year, it won't show up on your resume. If you missed work for longer than a year due to illness, you can still use this technique, but avoid calling attention to it on the resume. Don't write down the reason for the gap, because it will be addressed in the interview anyway.
Mentioning Employment Gaps
Most hiring managers look for employment gaps on each resume they encounter. Because of this, be prepared to answer questions about the gap. But, since gaps on a resume can be considered a bad thing, don't be the one to bring it up. Instead, wait for the hiring manager to mention your employment gap.
Answering With Honesty
Answer honestly when asked about your employment gap. Avoid lying or telling half-truths, as the prospective employer may find out in the future, if you lied. Depending on the illness, you may want to keep your answer vague. For instance, if you were admitted to a mental institution, this could be looked upon unfavorably by the hiring manager. Instead, say that you had a brief illness, and that you're better now. You don't have to be specific about the illness if it makes you uncomfortable.
Talk of the Future
The main reason a hiring manager asks about an employment gap is because he's concerned that you aren't reliable. When answering questions about the gap on your resume, make it clear that this won't happen again. Talk about your recovery and how you've been feeling lately. If your employment gap is due to a chronic illness that you haven't overcome completely, mention that you've developed methods to help relieve your symptoms, so you're still valuable to the workforce.