I Have Resume Gaps Due to Medical Issues

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‘JT & Dale Talk Jobs’ is the largest nationally syndicated career advice column in the country and can be found at JTandDale.com.

Dear J.T. & Dale: I’d like to piggyback on a question posed by another reader. Two years ago I left a position because I had seizures. I was in and out of the hospital until I had brain surgery. Now I am seizure-free, but I have a two-year gap in my work history. I feel uncomfortable telling people about my medical issues, but I don’t want to lie. Any pointers? — Mimi

J.T.: One way or another, they are going to want to understand what you did in those two years. So, if you did any volunteering in that time, took classes or did freelancing, you might consider listing those to fill the gap.

Dale: Or, you could see if you can get comfortable talking about your experiences. I know, I know … it’s none of their business. However, J.T.’s right: They are going to wonder, and it’s wise to assume that hiring managers think it’s wise to assume the worst.

J.T.: You actually could put a positive spin on the experience, saying: “I’m glad you asked. It’s actually an interesting story. I was experiencing seizures and had to have surgery, which successfully stopped them. I wasn’t able to work during that time, but it was a huge learning opportunity, and I’m relieved to have it behind me, because I hated not working.” It comes down to the way you present it. If you hesitate or act nervous, they’ll worry that you are hiding something. But proudly share what made you stronger and better, and employers will admire you.


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Jeanine “J.T.” Tanner O’Donnell is a professional development specialist and the founder of the consulting firm, jtodonnell.com, and of the blog, CAREEREALISM.com. Dale Dauten resolves employment and other business disputes as a mediator with AgreementHouse.com.

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4 comments

  1. As a HR profoessional, I would discourage talking about your seizures during the interview. It is certainly nothing to be ashamed of, but a seasoned HR pro knows that medical topics are off limits, so you put the interviewer in an akward position.

    My advice would be to reformat your resume. There is only a two year gap if you use a chronological resume. If you give them a funtional or combination resume, there is no need to show the gap. Ultimately, if you are uneasy about your resume when you walk into the interview, it will stress you out and make you uncomfortable. Massage your resume until it is something that you can be confident in. Then go in with CONFIDENCE and land the job you want. Good luck!

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