IT Employment



How do I explain my absence from work on a resume?

By Selvarin ·
Here's the situation. I had to take time off for a health issue. Because of the difficulty in finding insurance to pay for the procedure I was off a fair amount of time. I was out a total of 15 months before being OK'd to go back to work, now I'm looking and haven't found a good way to explain it. I did study for two additional certifications (Network+ and Security+) and I'm healthy enough to do what I was doing before. How do I let potential employers know why without them worrying that my past health issue could become a liability?

FYI, I have arthritis and had hip resurfacing surgery. I can take care of things without a problem, unless my future job expects me to be carting 8 or 10 PCs uphill or something.

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by shasca In reply to How do I explain my absen ...

Why would you want "come up" with something? tell it like it is and if you are convincing in self belief that you can do the job it will come across to the potential employer. Arthritis is not showstopper for an IT related position. I don't think there are many of us working in this field that don't have back/wrist/neck issues that we deal with.

"Honest is (ALWAYS) best policy"

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I concur with that ideal ...

by OldER Mycroft In reply to why?

Why the OP thinks there should be a way of covering it up is beyond me.

Ultimately the truth will out in the end, so it might as well come out of his mouth before anyone discovers he's been lying.

No-one wants to employ a liar.

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You missed his point

by NormH3 In reply to I concur with that ideal ...

He is asking how to explain his medical leave without making it sound as if he is unemployable. There is nothing in his post about lying.

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Well, how else apart from Flim-Flam ...

by OldER Mycroft In reply to You missed his point

He's gonna have to tell a lie if he doesn't tell the truth.

It's not for him to figure if he's still employable, it's for the potential employer to (mis)judge that aspect of his resum?.

Any employer that's gonna pick holes in the employability of some bloke who's had a period of genuine illness, is not worth working for.

So you tell me (and him) how he's gonna pad out this period of illness, without lying about it then.

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by Selvarin In reply to Well, how else apart from ...

I'm all for the truth. I'm trying to see if there's a good way and a bad way to say it. Maye someone else was in the situation I've been? I don't have a single thing in my resume that is false. My experience, education, and references are all verifiable. I'd never consider falsifying information on my resume. (Never say or put on paper what you cannot back up. Ever.)

My goal is to get an employer to take a serious look at my resume. I have both a short form and a longer version of my resume. The long version lists specific experience regarding each job, and when discussing the last position I said that I had to stop work earlier than expected because of a health issue. I haven't included a cover letter when applying because I wasn't sure the best way to write it. I think including one might help.

With all due respect, even though businesses aren't supposed to discriminate it does happen. I was declared disabled, and before then I remember a situation where I was qualified for the position in question but I didn't get hired--later on I learned through back channels that the co-owner had noticed me limping that day and was concerned about their insurance premiums shooting up. In light of that, perhaps you can better understand my concern.

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I understand better than you realise, believe me ...

by OldER Mycroft In reply to Incorrect.

However, for all the reasons that you have just set forth, and encompassing what I iterated earlier, any onus whatsoever regarding your recent bout of ill health is not for you to smooth over. It is for the employer to NOT cast aspersions on, therefore all that is required of you is to set out the situation as it happens to be.

If you continue to belive that your recent period away from work will influence an employer to take you on, then even when you get to the interview stage (which you will) your own self-doubt will come through at that interview.

I was merely attempting to bolster your personal position by emphasising that there was NO NEED on your part to put anything in your resum? other than exactly what caused your recent period of inactivity. If a potential employer doesn't like what he reads, then stuff that employer and move onto the next.

Ultimately you may find an employer who himself has undergone exactly the same clinical procedures as yourself.

But if you set out to try and smooth over something that doesn't need it, you will have the entirely wrong mindset for when you go for an interview.

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Be upfront and don't hide it.

by JamesRL In reply to Incorrect.

In the interview, if you get the chance to bring it up - while they are walking you through the resume for example, do so. Tell them you had some health issues, you dealt with it and you don't expect a relapse. You don't want to go too deep unless they ask - it may make them feel ackward.

But do not mention it on the resume, or the cover letter.

Sure you might lose some interviews. But you probably don't want to work there anyway.

BTW, I only put the years (1999-2002) on my resume as I have 25 years experience, and months don't really matter. I'm not trying to hide anything, just trying to keep it simple - if they ask, then tell.

Larger firms will be more about your experience than your health issues.


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Thanks guys!

by Selvarin In reply to Be upfront and don't hide ...

Thanks, James and Old_Mycroft. That makes things much clearer. Essentially:

A) Not to get into that mindset (not to get into self-doubt since that'll show through),

B) Be upfront but not in-depth unless you get to the interview stage.

I'll keep this in mind and deal more with the positions offered (and what I bring to the table) should I include a cover letter.


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I agree with James

by Dr Dij In reply to Be upfront and don't hide ...

DON'T mention it on your cover or resume.

This iS NOT lying.
I would only mention it in an interview if they ask about the gap.

And I might be tempted to simply say that I was studying for the certifications, which you could show them at that point. And which IS THE TRUTH. Since you are not under oath in an interview, you don't need the WHOLE TRUTH!

An omission is NOT a lie, unless they specifically ask, e.g. if they ask if you have felony convictions and you don't mention it that is a lie.

So if they asked if you HAD health problems and you don't answer that would be a lie.

But if they ask if you have any health problems that would prevent you from doing your job, typically something worded like 'able to lift 25 pounds', and you feel you can now do it, no reason to mention previous health probs.

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Now you are cooking

by shasca In reply to Be upfront and don't hide ...

"A) Not to get into that mindset (not to get into self-doubt since that'll show through),

B) Be upfront but not in-depth unless you get to the interview stage.

I'll keep this in mind and deal more with the positions offered (and what I bring to the table) should I include a cover letter."

Perfect conclusion. Now go get em.

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