Ask LH: Should I Mention Jury Duty On My Resume?

Dear Lifehacker, Earlier in the year I did 14 weeks of jury duty. Now I'm looking for a job, I have a huge gap in my employment history. Should I mention this on my resume to help clarify the reason for the gap? Thanks, Time Served

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Dear TS,

Congratulations on performing jury duty -- it's a task many people try to avoid, but our justice system does depend in part on people serving on juries. However, as you've observed, it can create an unusual gap on your resume.

One of our most consistent pieces of advice regarding resumes is to keep them brief (ideally under a page). As such, highlighting the fact that you've performed jury duty isn't necessary. If an employer asks about the gap, by all means mention that jury duty was the reason for the absence. However, since a good resume doesn't have to include every minor job you've ever had, the "jury duty gap" isn't deserving of space on there either.

If your work experience is relatively limited and you're worried about the jury duty period sticking out and meaning you don't even get to the interview stage, you could consider adding a short note to that effect. However, I'd only do that if you've applied for a lot of jobs and don't feel you're getting noticed. Applying for jobs requires consistency, dedication and fine-tuning and customising your application for each position. Those are much more important steps than worrying about a brief period where you weren't working, especially as you were performing a civic service at the time.

Cheers Lifehacker

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    dude, 14 weeks is hardly a 'huge gap' .. do you realise that some ppl actually go on holidays that last much longer than this...

      what kind of job gives you a 14+ week holiday?

        Student with rich parents I bet.

        I've been on a 3 month holiday before, didn't get paid for a bit of it either

    I guess if you were unemployed for this period then it might be worth mentioning, but most people would still be employed at their normal place of work during jury duty, making no gap in your employment history.

    Maybe consider how much time it takes up compared to the rest of your working experience, if it's 14 weeks out of 30 years, that's hardly significant, if it's 14 weeks out of 6 months, that's a little more significant and worthy of mention.

    Long service leave comes to mind immediately.

    If you're worried about the gap in employment on your resume, one of the best bits of advice I've read was to condense your employment prior down to year started and year finished. It's not lying, but it does avoid the topic of coming up of "what have you been doing the last few months since you finished at X"

    After applying for (literally) hundreds of positions and getting one single response from a prospective employer (who called to tell me that my visa status wasn't what he was looking for - but at least he got back to me!) for roughly 5 or so months, I took to lying my dick off on my resumé.

    Lo-and-behold I now have a job (which I'm completely competent at - my skill is not in question, it was my experience, which is so unfair).

    Last edited 06/11/12 1:22 am

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