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How to explain the resume gap when you opt back in

Addressing it in the cover letter is one good option

by Carol Cohen and Vivian Rabin  |  137303 views  |  4 comments  |        Rate this now! 

I am very eager to return to the workforce and believe my pent-up enthusiasm for work, combined with my relevant educational and professional credentials, will help me contribute meaningfully to the organization.

I look forward to the opportunity to discuss my potential fit for this position by phone or in person at your convenience.

Thank you.

Sincerely, Your Name

This post originally appeared on

About the Author

Carol Fishman Cohen and Vivian Steir Rabin are the co-authors of the acclaimed career reentry book Back on the Career Track: A Guide for Stay-at-Home Moms Who Want to Return to Work, and the co-founders of iRelaunch, a company providing career reentry programming, events, and information to employers, universities, organizations and to mid-career professionals in all stages of career break. They also blog at

Read more by Carol Cohen and Vivian Rabin

4 comments so far...

  • I disagree with pointing out the gap on a cover letter, as that is not the place to bring up anything about yourself that could be viewed as a negative in any way, so you certainly shouldn't draw attention to it.
    A gap in employment does not have to mean a gap on your resume. Unless they specifically require you to enter chronological work history, when you have those gaps such as are common with stay-at-home parents or military spouses, you should be using a functional resume format, instead. Learn to translate the skills you've learned both on & off the job into function area. Do not discount your volunteer experience, as it also can provide relevant skills & should be included.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by KP on 2nd June 2012

  • I have decided to return to work after six years. My child started school this year and I think it is time. The problem I am having is that I went from a stay at home mom when the economy was good and now looking for work then career now that the job market is very slow. I have plenty of office skills but no one seems to have any openings. I really think my issue is that everyone wants you to apply online so they can't meet me and then they see the hugh work gap on my resume. Well, its tuff out there but I wont give up.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by cali on 1st June 2011

  • Great article, ladies. This is often a sore spot for moms returning to work.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Roxanne Ravenel JobSearchCoach on 20th July 2008

  • I too recently returned to the workforce, and addressed this same problem and fears. I was able to seek the advice of a career counselor and we talked about what i've been doing during that large work gap. She helped me realise that though my resume wasn't about work skills in the work force that my time was a Domestic CEO (stay at home mom) i had picked up some very important skills that was just as valuable because they were in life experience skills. i was hired within a week.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by qweenblaz on 18th July 2008