Historically, having a significant gap in your professional employment has been seen as a huge negative on a resume. However, given that a May Gallup poll showed that 19% of the American population is underemployed (either not working or working part-time instead of full-time), there are many, many job seekers out there wondering how to handle this resume issue. The good news is that there are ways to present gaps in employment that minimize their impact on your resume.
Fill your time any way you can
Hiring managers receive dozens of applications for every job they post these days. They know as well as anyone how tough the current job market is. Because of this, employers are far less likely to stigmatize a job seeker who shows a recent gap in their employment history—the key is to fill that gap with something that shows that you care about your career.