When you’re searching for a new job, there are many different obstacles to overcome. A big one is a gap in your career history. Whether you were laid off unexpectedly or took time off to care for your family, you’ll need to explain why. How can you do that in a way that doesn’t lead to rejection? Here are some tips top help you in the process:
How Can You Explain a Gap Between Jobs to an Employer?
Don’t avoid it, hide it or lie about it.
This can lead to trouble. Instead, be the first to point the gap out and explain what happened. Be honest about it, whether it’s due to the years you spent home with children or a career change and heading back to school to earn a degree. If you don’t explain it, hiring managers will assume the worst and think it’s because you were fired or couldn’t find a job.
Talk about the reason for the gap.
If you were laid off, explain that you were part of a company downsizing. In this economy, hiring managers certainly understand that. If, however, your gap was voluntary, talk about why you took it. This, too, will put a positive spin on your gap with arousing suspicion and reducing the chance of getting hired.
Discuss what you learned.
During your gap employment, what did you learn? If you were laid off, did you earn a new certification or take any online courses? If you were home with children or caring for elderly parents, there are still transferable skills to discuss that are relevant. Talk about these and why these make you a stronger candidate.
Bring it up in the cover letter.
As soon as a hiring manager sees your resume, they will notice the gap. It’s why explaining it in your cover letter is key. Don’t wait for an interview because you might not get one. However, when you have a reasonable answer for the employment gap, you’ll increase the chance of getting called for an interview.
Practice your answer.
If you do get a call for an interview, practice how you’ll respond to any gap-related questions ahead of time. You don’t want to be taken by surprise, or stutter through them. That said, don’t focus too much on your gap either. Segue into what you learned and what you can bring to the position and the company.
Need more help minding the gaps?
At Future Force, we can help with your resume, interview skills, and more. As a leading temporary hiring agency, we’ll also connect you with the right-fit opportunities for your background and goals, whether it’s a temporary role, full-time or temp-to-hire. Search our jobs now to get started!