How to explain gaps on your accounting resume
September 5, 2022

How to Explain Gaps on Your Accounting Resume

Having gaps in your resume is completely normal and can be due to many reasons. Whether you were travelling, taking time to rest, caring for a loved one, or raising a family, a resume gap in itself typically won’t stop you from getting your dream accounting job.

With the right explanation, a gap on your resume isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, you can use it as an opportunity to bring up new skills you learned during this time and your desire for long-term growth opportunities with a new company.

As long as you have the correct skill set and qualifications for the prospective position, this shouldn’t be a big barrier between you and your current career goals. Continue reading to learn about effective strategies in order to explain gaps on your accounting resume.

Create a Solid Resume 

The first step in the hiring process is creating a solid and effective resume that highlights your previous experience and current skill set. If the reason for the resume gap was something simple such as being on maternity leave or travelling, then write a one-sentence explanation. However, if you were downsized or fired, leave this out of your resume for now and wait until your interview to discuss why this happened. 

When formatting your accountant resume, you don’t necessarily need to add the months for start and end dates. Alternatively, you can only add the years. This is a good option for those who only took a few months off during a particular period. 

Other tips to enhance your resume include:

  • Create a volunteer section on your resume to demonstrate your ability to give back to the community and show that you’re socially mindful.
  • Write a cover letter that clearly addresses your biggest highlights throughout your career.
  • Include a section that lays out your biggest accomplishments.
  • Create a list of certifications or courses that you’ve taken to give your resume a competitive edge.

Prepare for the Interview 

As you’re preparing for your job interview, be fully ready to discuss previous roles, accomplishments, and the key skills you have that make you an excellent candidate for the role. If your time away from work gets brought up, have a brief, clear, and honest discussion with your interviewer. If you were laid off, outline the situation, and mention the successes you had within your company as well as the lessons you learned. 

Get Ready to Answer the Following Questions

During the interview process, your interviewer will likely want to know the answers to the following questions.

1. What are your current skills and qualifications that align with the job position?

One of the most important parts of your interview is explaining your current skills and qualifications that make you an excellent candidate for the role. If you excel in answering why you would make an amazing fit for the company, your interviewer won’t spend too much time stuck on your resume gap. Before the interview, make sure you’re completely up to date on tax regulations, changes in technology, and auditing regulations.

2. Can you please explain the gap in your resume?

If your interviewer does bring up the gap in your resume, be fully transparent. This would be the perfect opportunity to bring up how your work gap made you stronger and more knowledgeable. Did you keep up with current changes in the finance and accounting industry? Did you read or write accounting blog articles? Did you attain any new certifications, or take any courses related to the finance and accounting industry? Did you learn any new soft skills that relate to the position?

3. Do you see a future with this company?

Your potential employer will want to know if you’re planning to only work for a few months before leaving the workforce again, or if you’re committed to long-term growth within the company. Employers want to know if putting in the time to train you will be worth it in the end. Before your interview, be honest with yourself and consider if you do see a future with the company. If all goes accordingly, do you plan on staying? Would you like the opportunity to be promoted and advance your career?

4. If you were fired, why?

If you were laid off from your previous job, be prepared to answer the “why.” This is a good way to start a conversation about how you’ve grown since your last job. If you’re going to continue repeating the same problems repeatedly, this will not be beneficial to you or your employer. Avoid over-explaining and instead, keep your answer brief and to the point. Layoffs happen frequently at CPA firms, and your future employer just needs to know you won’t run into similar problems that could lead to getting fired again. This wastes both your time and theirs.  

For further information about how to explain gaps on your accounting resume, please reach out to AHK Accounting Recruiters at 855-630-0282 or request a consultation through our online form.

With our great network and expertise as accounting recruiters in Ontario, AHK Accounting Recruiters can help give you an upper hand in the competitive job market. We look forward to hearing from you soon and guiding you throughout the entire hiring process. Call us at 833-399-1663 or click here to email us.

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