Job Letters
Not sure how to write a resume cover letter? Here you can learn how to write a cover letter with or without experience, and other job letters for all stages of job seeking.
Resume FAQ

Addressing Employment Gaps in Cover Letters

There are many justifiable reasons why professionals spend time away from their careers leaving gaps in the resume: the economy, having a family, education, health and other personal matters.  Always be honest and acknowledge the situation, but not necessarily at the beginning of the letter.  The Cover Letter should showcase your strengths and relevant experience in the initial paragraphs, and address a recent gap in employment at the end, keeping the focus on your strong qualifications.  In that way, the gap will not detract from your otherwise strong skill set, as some recruiters may feel that a gap in employment is a red flag.  The key is knowing how to explain gaps in your resume, briefly, so that the recruiter will understand your circumstances but also recognize your value. 

The main employment gap that requires a detailed explanation is your most recent time between jobs.  The Cover Letter does not necessarily need to address earlier gaps on the resume, in fact older gaps in your career history can be omitted.  If you experienced a more recent career shift, resulting in a loss of job, explain the reasons behind this decision.  For example if you were let go due to a merger or downsizing, explain how you used your time while looking for a new job.

My last position was eliminated in October 2022 as a result of a my company being acquired.  Since then, I have taken the opportunity to spend time (taking courses, raising my family, volunteering, developing technical skills…). I am now ready and thrilled to return to the workforce in the role of (Title).

If you decided to take personal time away from your job, to travel or pursue other interests, a brief explanation at the end should suffice.

For the past 18 months, I have traveled around the world, which has been a long standing goal of mine.  During this time, I never stopped learning and developed improved communication skills and acquired an ability to respond quickly to changing situations.

I took a year off from my career to focus on professional development.  During that time, I acquired many skills that will be useful in my future career:

  • Learned marketing through social media
  • Attended seminars on industry-related topics
  • Developed technical skills
  • Obtained certifications

If you were eliminated from your previous job, highlight any new skills acquired during your time off.  A Cover Letter offers you the opportunity to explain, in greater detail, why you were laid off, and your motivation to acquire new skills.

I was laid off from my previous job due to organizational changes.  However, I used the time to catch up on industry-related trends, acquire certifications and build out my network with other professionals in the field.

Unfortunately I lost my job due to cuts within the organization.  While I was looking for another job, I took online courses to hone my skills and remain updated in all industry trends and developments.  I am ready and excited to return to the workplace and apply my newly-acquired skills.

If you left your prior job to start a business, which never succeeded, this effort will demonstrate a willingness to take risks and try new things.  The same applies to time off to volunteer and pursue artistic endeavors.

If there is no specific reason for the career gap, that you wish to share, language such as:

I took one year off to re-assess my professional goals. 

Always add information about how you grew professionally.  You are not legally required to share information about leaving a job to raise a family; and if you were fired, it is best to leave that explanation to the actual interview, where you can present a positive reason behind the termination.  The key is to address the gap, so that the prospective employer won’t imagine the worst circumstance.  Your goal in the Cover Letter is to reassure the hiring manager that you are ready, willing and able to return to work.

I am very interested in the opportunity at (Company) for the position of (Title), and believe my skills and experience make me a strong candidate. 


As you will see on my attached resume, I spent (X) years doing very similar work as the position requires in your organization.  Although I have been out of the workforce for (X) years, I have kept up with industry developments by reading trade journals and attending conferences.  I have also acquired new technical skills and am totally ready to return to work.  The time I spent outside of the workforce allowed me to improve my organizational and interpersonal skills.

(Leadership; time management; work under pressure; multi-tasking, etc.)

I am very eager to return to the workforce and believe my prior experience and relevant education will enable me to contribute to the organization.

I look forward to the opportunity to discuss this position with you by phone, or in person, and will follow up next week.

Always express enthusiasm for the prospective role.  Demonstrate the connection between your prior experience, along with the learning and skills acquired during your time away from the workforce and how they align with the future position.  Highlight that you were proactive during this time and provide evidence of the initiative taken during the down time.  Drawing a picture for the recruiter will make it easier to consider you as a candidate.  Most employers recognize that there may be extenuating circumstances leading to gaps in a career path, so writing a Cover Letter that showcases your relevant skills, while briefly discussing the gap will be sufficient.