Having a gap on your resume can be a bit nerve-racking. And there are lots of justifiable reasons for a period of unemployment—maybe you had to care for a sick relative, raise your kids, traveling the world, or you simply had trouble finding a new job. Regardless of the reason, there are good ways to explain why you have a gap on your resume so you don’t panic when the topic is brought up. Here are the best ways to explain employment gaps on your resume.
Strategize ahead of time
As soon as you leave your job—or even before—start planning for your gap. Use your spare time to develop your skills. Take an online course or enroll in a workshop. Take on some freelance work as a consultant or tackle your own project. Even just reading articles and books relevant to your job and journaling about them can be a great way to keep your skills fresh and show that you really took advantage of your time during your employment gap.
Prepare for the question
You can almost guarantee that every interviewer you meet with will ask about that gap in your job history, so be prepared for it. You might even want to be proactive and briefly mention it in your cover letter. You don’t have to divulge every single personal detail, but a brief, factual explanation is a lot better than leaving it up to the imagination of your interviewer. Mention some of the benefits of your time away from a job, instead of dwelling on the reason.
Definitely do not lie about anything in your interview. Employers can easily verify your story, and if they discover you’ve lied, you’ll be in far worse shape than if you had simply been honest from the start. If you were laid off, you can simply explain that your company was struggling and had to restructure. It happens all the time. If you were fired, again, it’s best to be honest. You don’t have to offer every detail, but briefly tell the truth and own the situation.
Show that your employment gap has been worth your time. Caring for a sick relative or raising your kids are both selfless, noble endeavors. Even if you just hated your last job and couldn’t find another job, show that you used your time wisely—pursuing a passion or developing skills that are relevant to your career.
For more interview tips on how to prepare for your job search, check out our website at https://www.chiefofstaffkc.com/job-seekers/.
Blog written by Erin Greenhalgh