QUESTION: I had to take time off work for a year to support a close family member with health issues, should I mention this on my resume to explain the gap in employment?
If you have an employment gap of 6+ months, address it so that the employer is not filling in the gaps with their own ideas of what you may have been up to during that time. It all comes down to positioning. Briefly mention the gap, but keep the focus on any career-related training and professional development that you undertook to show your commitment to staying relevant within your industry.
Yes, mention it. Employers don’t like employment gaps. They value how you were working. At “what” you worked isn’t as important as you might fear. And guess what—taking care of family is valued by many employers! I’ve met people who drove taxis, worked retail, and, yes, took care of family members. They all eventually obtained the position they wanted.
Yes, most definitely! If you have a break from your professional employment history due to a major life circumstance, treat it just like a chronological job entry on your resume. Examples might be family or child care, pursuing education, or pitching in on a family business that’s in trouble. Even travel can be accounted for in this way, if the trip was unique enough. List the “to” and “from” date.
The first step is, to be honest, never put the recruiter in the position to second guess career gaps particularly if the gap amounts to more than 6 months. If the recruiter is left guessing this could conjure a “red flag” and prevent you from getting to the next stage. You do not need to add all the details, but you should try to professionally summarize why you have this gap.