You're not alone. Many people do. The question is how to deal with them. What do you say on your resume? What do you say in interviews?
The answer is fairly simple for short gaps like 3 to 4 months or so. In those cases you can simply say nothing on your resume because gaps of that length are commonplace. If asked you can simply answer "Job searching".
However, long gaps are a red flag. The reader of a resume is wondering what was going on during that period. That's not a good mindset to establish. It is far better to make a one-line statement that answers the question. An answer before the reader dwells on it gives you a chance to refocus the reader's attention to the rest of your resume. And at interviews you have already answered the question so there is no need to dwell on it.
Keep the one-liner brief and honest. For example, if you were care-taking, say so. If you were raising a family, say so. (Interesting information regarding women who want to re-enter the workforce can be found at http://bit.ly/1XsoNLa.) If you were pursuing education or a certification, say so. If you were recovering from an illness or accident, say so carefully, including why you are able to work now. If you were incarcerated you have no choice but to be say so.
Admittedly, sometimes an answer will not help. Some readers are close-minded to reasons for gaps. They just don't believe them. You are not able to change their minds if you cannot talk with them, but in an interview situation if you run into an interviewer who is negative about your gap, at least you have a chance to impact his or her mindset.
In extremely long gaps there may be no recovery. These are unfortunate situations that require rethinking what kind of employment, often large steps down, are possible. Since these are the most difficult cases, professional career counseling may be the only solution.
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