Resume Help/Resume time gap


I am currently seeking employment in the medical therapy field with all current certifications.  I believe that my resume and cover letter are properly done however I have one problem that I do not know how to address.

I began in this field in 2007 and rose to “Senior Therapist” and remained in this capacity until mid-2012.  At that time I left my employment to work for my significant other as an office manager from mid-2012 to mid-2014.  Needless to say for many reasons this move was a mistake.  The relationship was abusive and I was able to get out of it and relocate beginning of 2015.  

My question is this; I cannot use the employment as a reference when I worked for my then significant other (he would not give a positive reference – in fact purposely the opposite).  This leaves a gap of mid-2012 to date on my resume.  Should I use this employment listing and ask them not to contact my prior employer as this would raise a “red flag” and if I did this would still leave a gap from beginning of 2015 to date.

How can I best handle this time gap situation on my resume without getting in to my personal life if asked about that time period?

Hi Lisa,

At first glance, your dilemma seems as if it would be tough to conquer, however by putting things in perspective, and making this about the next employer, the situation may not be as challenging to deal with.

Consider that if an employer conducted a background check, or even requested verification of your work history from the Social Security Administration, they would identify the period of time as paid employment.

Avoid the gap and use the time on the resume. Every key concept or key word listed under this date-time frame will generate an additional two years of experience.  

You do not have to provide or list the point of contact as a professional reference. If you indicate 'no' on an application where it asks if they may contact the previous employer, be ready with a response if anyone ever asks why. Tell the truth and say that for a short period of time, you worked for a personal friend and felt the contact would provide more of a biased reference rather than an objective reference.

There will be no other explanation required as pertains to your personal life!

I hope this helps you overcome this challenge!


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Lisa Parker, CPRW


As a Certified Executive Résumé Master (CERM), Certified Professional Résumé Writer (CPRW), Certified Employment Interview Professional (CEIP), Disabled Veteran Outreach Program Specialist, Transition Assistance Program (TAP) Facilitator, and retired service member; I can answer your questions on a variety of subjects. Ask me about résumé and cover letter preparation, military transition, federal or government résumé resources and other career development topics.


28 years of combined experience in both Federal and State organizations. Extensive background in promoting personal and professional development, and providing career development guidance.

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