I'm very embarrassed but I didn't work after graduation due to mental illness. How do I explain the gap?

eroneroc's picture
Rank: Chimp | banana points 11

I'm embarrassed by this, but after I finished my undergrad -- well, and during it too -- I was dealing quite heavily with depression and anxiety. After undergrad it became unbearable and I ended up checking myself in to a hospital program here, that while not live in and full time, still took up a considerable amount of time to the point where working would be impossible (if I were even in a place to do it mentally).

I'm much better now, but I'm left in the odd position of having an almost two year gap on my resume that I don't know how to explain. It's also not something I can say, "Oh I was in the hospital" as I'm afraid that it would make employers hesitant to even want to deal with me which I could understand.

Does anyone have any advice? Has anyone dealt with something similar?

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Comments (6)

Apr 25, 2018

US employers are not supposed to discriminate against those with mental illnesses, but they do...and unless you are requesting an accommodation I would not disclose your specific medical issues.

Employers will always want to know why there are gaps in your resume and they will ask...however, all you should have to say is "I had a medical issue that is now resolved". If they press for more then just say that you don't feel comfortable discussing the matter further but reassure them that the issue is resolved, that you do not need accommodations, and that you're ready to jump back in the workforce.

As far as your resume I wouldn't leave the gap blank, I'd add it as if it had been a job "Medical Leave of Absence, Resolved - from 2016 to 2018. "

This way they might understand you don't need accommodations.

I wouldn't lie about your absence, just keep it vague. Don't say you were out trying to find yourself or that you were doing free lance work or that you were studying (for what?).

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Apr 26, 2018

I agree with a comment below. It's unfair to discriminate those, who have some mental illness. You can easily go to law with that problem
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Wish you good luck.

Array
Apr 26, 2018
daryl.bartoo:

I agree with a comment below. It's unfair to discriminate those, who have some mental illness. You can easily go to law with that problem

You can't 'easily go to law with that problem'.

You can if you get fired unfairly for a mental illness, not rejected pre-hire. Big difference.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Apr 26, 2018

"Why is there a gap in your resume?" = "We're concerned you're not sufficiently reliant on a paycheck to be good slave to our company as you were able to live several months/years without one. This minimizes our leverage over you and the BS to which we can subject you."

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Apr 26, 2018

First, nothing to be embarrassed about...it's not uncommon.

If I were you I'd apply for grad schools (non-MBA in your case) to get a second shot at recruiting. You likely wouldn't have to explain the gap year(s) because no one would notice.

Apr 26, 2018

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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