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I had 3 years full time work experience in web development. I had to leave the job and come to overseas (my home) for 1.5 years due to personal problem, but I did some free lance work in web development and maintaining a Linux VPS server. I did some certifications like CCNA, CCNP, RHCE during that time.

I am going back and getting ready to apply for jobs. Now I am confused how can I fill that 1.5 year gap. Can I write free lancing there? How should I write it?

Did my worth degrade as I had to leave full time job for 1.5 years? Or do I really need to write that I was away? Can I write that I was doing free lancing and now I want a permanent job?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

The first thing to remember is that you should always be honest on your CV. Lies will eventually be found out and cause more problems than they solve. The second thing is to never leave blanks in your CV. Recruiters will spot these and want to know what you were doing during that time

Putting what you have written here would, I think, satisfy most people. You had to return home for personal reasons, but during that time you kept your skills up to date by engaging in some free-lance work and taking some certifications.

Leaving a full time employment doesn't mean you make yourself less employable or worth less to an employer - as long as you can demonstrate what you have done in the intervening period.

So to sum up. You should put that you had to return home for personal reasons, you did some free-lance work during this period and now you want to return to full time work. The only thing you might have to answer is a question about the possibility of the personal problem recurring.

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In my resume I have a section called Other Projects, where I specify the projects I've done as a freelancer. I don't lie, but I don't specify explicitly that I was a freelancer. Usually I talk about my freelancing experience during the interviews.

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