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Addressing MBA Resume Gaps

Gaps in an MBA resume can cause concern for admissions officers.

But what exactly is the right way to address them in your application? Jessica Chung, former Associate Director of Admissions at UCLA Anderson and admissions coach at Fortuna, offers a few tips on how applicants can effectively address a gap in their MBA resume.

“As an expert coach with Fortuna Admissions, I always advise candidates with this concern not to hide or gloss over it,” Chung writes. “Silence is not a strategy. Hoping your admissions reviewer just won’t notice rarely works and won’t win you any favors.”


The general rule of thumb when it comes to addressing gaps, according to Clear Admit, is to focus on ones that are three months or longer.

When explaining a gap in your resume, Chung says, it’s important to not use excuses but rather, be sincere and straightforward in the reason for the gap.

“Maybe you took time off to start an entrepreneurial venture, initiated a career switch or got laid off,” she writes. “Or maybe illness or other personal circumstances were to blame. Whatever the reason, what’s best is to provide a straightforward explanation versus an excuse.”

Being straightforward, Chung says, will give admissions officers context into your application as a whole.

“You want them to assess your candidacy from a place of understanding as they review your entire application,” she writes. “Express honesty and reflection, with an awareness that your reasoning may alleviate any concerns.”


It’s okay to have a gap in your resume. What’s more important, Chung says, is to demonstrate the lessons that you’ve learned.

“For example, if you were laid off, perhaps the unexpected break gave you an opportunity for valuable introspection instead of rushing into another job that may or may not be a good fit,” Chung writes. “If you took the time to reassess your career evolution, next steps, and the kind of impact you wanted your next position to have on your career, it can suggest both clarity of purpose and maturity.”


Experts say the optional essay is a good place to address gaps in your resume.

While it’s important to offer context, Chung says, make sure to be concise in your explanation.

“Did you spend this time in other meaningful activities, such as studying for the CFA exam or conducting informational interviews with individuals in a role you aspire for? Perhaps you took a gap year immediately after undergraduate studies to volunteer abroad, imparting renewed purpose and ambition, which in turn can provide great insight into your personal development and motivations,” Chung writes.

Sources: Fortuna Admissions, Clear Admit

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