Employment gaps might feel like a big warning sign on your resume. Even if there’s a perfectly good reason for them, you know they’re there, the hiring manager knows they’re there and you know they’re going to ask about them.
How can you explain them without over-sharing? Maybe you took a few months off to travel, care for a sick family member or raise your kids. Outside of personal reasons, maybe you have a large employment gap from going back to school to make a career change.
Regardless of the reason, you’ll want to explain employment gaps as honestly and concisely as possible. Here are five techniques you’ll want to keep in mind when discussing employment gaps in your next interview.
Emphasize Your Skill Development
Show that you weren’t stagnant during your gap, that you continued to learn and practice your skills. Maybe you did a little freelance or consulting work, earned a certification or volunteered for a non-profit. Even if you took a job outside of your desired career, like working as a cashier or an Uber driver, you learn something new in every opportunity and can utilize that in the interview.
Frame your reasons in the most positive way possible. Even if you left your old job because you strongly disliked your boss or co-workers, find a new spin on that tale. Explain that you were ready for a different environment or needed new challenges. Try to refrain from mentioning other personnel at all.
Explain the Gap
If you left your past job voluntarily to start an employment gap, go ahead and tell them what caused you to leave. A hiring manager is much more likely to accept the gap if there was a justification behind it. They just don’t want to see that you sat on the couch for six months doing nothing productive. If you were let go from your previous job, frame the story in the most accurate way possible and highlight your positive takeaways.
Be as straightforward as possible when you’re discussing your employment gaps. Remember that hiring managers can call your references and easily verify a lot of your facts. Be sure that your resume tells the story of a driven, hardworking future employee who’s eager to learn and advance their career. Show that you’re focused on the long term, in charge of your own destiny and ready to proactively respond to changes and challenges.
Convince yourself that whatever you’ve been doing in this gap was a worthy, noble venture that demands respect. You sacrificed part of your career to care for a sick relative, to raise your kids or to earn a master’s degree. Have no regrets, own your decision, and be confident about it!
When you’re ready to take the next step in your professional career, it helps to have people in your corner. If you are looking for assistance in your job search, contact the team at Extreme Staffing and Payroll today.