You haven’t worked in years-it’s common situation. Perhaps, you’ve been a stay at home mom, self employed, or sick. Whatever the reason is, you are going back to work, and you need to write a resume that focuses on the value you have as a candidate. The problem is, most employers view a period of unemployment as negative, so you need to know how to create a resume that reflects the experience positively. Here are the tips you need to know for creating a resume with periods of unemployment:

1. Use a Functional or Skills Based Format

The first must for anyone creating a resume with periods of unemployment is to switch from a chronological resume format to a functional or skills based format. This will draw attention away from the fact that you weren’t employed for a period of time, and put focus on the fact that you have valuable skills and achievements to offer instead.

2. Show Reasons for Unemployment

Make sure to-if you are going to use a chronological resume format-have a good explanation included either in the body of the resume or cover letter which explains the inactivity. It could be self employment, sickness, or being a stay at home mom-but make it sound good.

3. Self Employment Lessons

If you were self employed, you have an advantage over any other situation in that you were still working-just for yourself. This said, you were learning new things, honing industry skills, and gaining valuable transferable skills to offer a potential employer. Make sure to format the self employment period of time in the chronology of your career with ample experience and details gained.

4. Focus on Education

If you have higher education to offer, dress up your education section to include more details on the types of courses you had, achievements won, etc.

5. Focus on Skills

Another good way to avoid the unemployment period of time is to focus on your skill sets. This will help an employer see what kinds of transferable skills you have to offer them, so that they think less about why you were unemployed.

6. Include Volunteer Work

During your period of unemployment, were you involved with any volunteering? If so, this could make your period of inactivity look much more positive. It shows that you were driven to work and bring about change for a cause or movement, even though you were not getting paid for it. It shows them that you have initiative.