How to Explain Gap in Employment

  1. Dear Nurse Beth,

    I am creating a cover letter for potential jobs, I graduated in 2013 with my BSN and began working with a pain management clinic which I did for 2 years. Between that job and starting my next job there was a 6 month gap while I helped take care of my grandma after my grandpa had passed away. I then got a job doing home health care that I loved but because of issues with them obtaining certification to get their skilled nursing side up and I was working in place of a nurse on maternity leave.

    That was also 6 months ago. After that I haven't looked for a job because we bought a home, we have 2 children, and time just flew by. So do I put any of this in my cover letter or do I want to explain any of this in my cover letter like the gaps of employment? I know a lot of it was bad timing as I just graduated and should have been focused on my career but I guess things in life happen and not always at the times we would like. Not really sure how to approach writing my cover letter with minimal experience without making it come off in a negative way and that I just didn't want to work or why I don't have more experience. Hopefully this isn't too much of an overload, am I just over thinking this?

    Dear Overthinking,

    So you worked from 2013-2015 in pain management
    then had a 6 month gap.


    You then worked in home health (you don't say for how long).

    You now haven't worked in 6 months.

    Your question is how to address your work history in a cover letter.

    I would not highlight gaps in employment in a cover letter. You can save your explanation later for the interview. When the time comes, you can say that you
    took time off from your career for family issues, but that those issues are completely resolved and you are ready and anxious to re-join the working world.

    Rather than point to weaknesses in your work history, target your cover letter(s) to each potential employer and use keywords from the posted job description. What can you say about your skills
    and values that would make the reader want to contact you? It's important to put yourself in the reader's shoes.

    Employers look for employees who are solutions to their problems. Was your attendance reliable? Were you ever voted Employee of the Month (speaks to teamwork)?
    Were you promoted or given additional responsibilities?

    Think like an employer and show them what you have to offer.


    Best wishes,

    Nurse Beth

    Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!

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    About Nurse Beth, MSN, RN

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  3. by   dianah
    Good advice for us all! Thanks Nurse Beth, and wishing the poster a successful interview.

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