Resume Help/resumes


Dear Ralph, I've been out of work for about a year and a half. I left my previous job in March 2014, and since then I've been doing odd jobs and writing my novel.

Now my novel is complete, and I'm looking for a full-time job again. How can I explain that gap of time? I'm thinking about putting "traveling, living life, and writing my novel" in the period of March 2013 - Present. What do you think?

I've been working with a staffing agency, but no bites yet. As of now, there's just a yawning gap in that part of my resume.

Hoping you can help me out, thanks.


Hi Maggie,

It would help if I knew what the "odd jobs" are that you have been doing during the hiatus from full-time work.  It would also be useful for me to know what kind of work you were doing (that "previous job") prior to March of last year.

Sometimes, the "yawning gap" that you are describing can be explained in a variety of ways, but without having the information I discussed here, it is very difficult for me to advise you on how to explain the gap.  The one thing that I can tell you is that you definitely NEED to provide employers an explanation; otherwise, they have to imagine or create their own scenario for your leave-of-absence and very often that scenario is not very flattering.

Perhaps you can send me a follow-up with more details and I can do a better job of responding.  You can either follow-up here or, better yet, send me an email to the address below and attach the resume and cover letter you are using.  I can help you create documents that will give employers a positive impression of you if I can see what you look like on paper.

Looking forward to hearing back from you!

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Ralph D. Converse, Ph.D.


I can answer questions about general job searches, resume construction, crafting an effective cover letter, and how to prepare for, and conduct, a winning interview. My speciality is the field of education, but I also have extensive background in business and administration. I know what works and what doesn't work and I can make your application package stand out from the rest ... because that is what you have to do.


I have interviewed for, and held, dozens of jobs in a career going back more than 42 years. I have taught at all educational levels including middle school, high school, community college, and university. In more than 42 years of experience on both sides of the job-search process, I have interviewed hundreds of applicants and have reviewed literally tens of thousands of job application packages. I am the author of 12 Mistakes That Got Your Job Application Rejected ... And How To Fix Them! I conduct workshops for job seekers in a variety of locations every year.

Music Educator's Journal, Teaching Music, Music and American Culture (forthcoming, 2013), Last Teacher Standing: The Job is Yours Now! and 12 Mistakes That Got Your Job Application Rejected ... And How To Fix Them!

B.A. New Mexico State University; M.Mus. Southern Illinois University; Ph.D. University of California and University of North Texas

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