January 17, 2017

How to Explain The Employment Gap In Interview


Explaining an employment gap in your resume is a tricky task. You might be tempted to twist the facts. Honesty, however, seems to be the best policy even with your employment history. Most employers have been in the same boat.

They could be sympathetic towards the underlying causes. Even then, they might want an explanation for the gap.

Here is how to thoughtfully address the issue:

Equip Yourself: Truth does not need exaggeration but preparation. Be prepared for the questions. Read your resume multiple times and spot the potential questions. Rewind and retrospect on what led to the gap. It could be a genuine issue like the company downsizing due to a recession. Have information or crisp pointers ready on your accomplishments during that phase. Do not hesitate to share any accomplishments that were personal. They could have added significant value to your life as well. For example, you could have been working towards literacy for slum kids in your area.

Be Honest: Honesty is the best policy. You won’t need to fabricate stories or remember the sequence of events for every employer. Your resume is your story of success and trials. If you have deliberately been on a break, talk about it. It might take courage at first, but a few recitations later you will be more comfortable. You could also narrate it in a light-hearted manner. Tell your employers about how you yearned to take time off the job, only to find that yourself as an unpaid worker at home!

Correlate Facts: It does not take employers long to correlate and calibrate the truth in your resume. You might have a single long gap in your employment history or multiple cavities that need bridging. The first step is ensuring all your professional profiles are alike. For example, if you had been off the job for a complete year in 2010, it should tally on LinkedIn, Monster or Jobs Daily. It is never too late to make changes and update facts. Similarly, if there was an unpaid charity job that you had undertaken, mention the dates and the change it brought. Failing to mention work on some platforms is misleading and could be judged as a gap.

Common Sense: It is true that common sense is not common. Most employers might not be looking at a lengthy explanation on a gap in your employment history. They are curious about how you present it. For example, if you had been laid off work for a period of two years, your employer would want to know why you did not pick up a job earlier. Responding with a cliche answer such as– ‘I was on the lookout for something more stable’ might not fetch you extra points. Instead, you approach it with common sense. ‘I didn’t know that the layoff could stretch this long.’ You could point to the fact that after the first few months you invested time and money updating and ups killing yourself for a new job.



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