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Asked by Melissa on September 7, 2017

Over 2 years ago when I was 6 months pregnant,I lost my job due to my entire department being eliminated. I decided to stay home for a while with my new family but ready to work now. How do I explain the absence in employment during the application process so my resume isn't immediately put in the rejection pile? I cannot even get an interview before receiving a rejection letter.

Answered by Phil, Hiring Expert at Merck & Co., Inc., on September 7, 2017

Hi there - I've seen this come through in several resumes at different points in my career. As a recruiter, I would add a short bullet to your resume explaining that you took time away from work to care for family. That is a fairly straightforward way to explain any gaps in your employment history to a recruiter who is quickly looking through resumes, and it offers a point for elaboration should you be selected to move forward in the process. For me, an unexplained gap tends to raise a flag, and so being able to explain that gap quickly and directly is very helpful. Best of luck in your search! -Phil

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Answered by Tom, Hiring Expert at VF Corporation, on September 8, 2017

As Phil from Merck suggested, simply include your decision to stay home with family on your resume/appication, you should also inlcude the part about your department being eliminated.  You can even write it up as your current job, if your last job is showing up as ended in 2015, that raises a red flag for recruiters and/or for the articial intelligence that the recruiting system may be using to screen candidates and they won't always seek to ask any further questions.  One additional thing that will help and I don't know what type of work you do, but include anything on your resume/application that can answer the question:  What did you do over the last two years to keep current with your line of work and/or what have you learned/experience have you gained over the last two years that make you better at what you do?

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