How to Best Explain Having a ‘Gap’ on Your Resume
Have you ever been told that having a gap in your resume is a bad thing? Well, that’s not always the case.
In fact, there are many reasons why someone may have a gap in their employment history. But, no matter the reason, it’s important to be prepared to talk about these gaps in interviews.
If you have a gap in employment on your resume, there are tips and strategies to help you confidently talk about these gaps in interviews and still land your dream job.
Everything you need to know about having a gap on your resume:
- Top reasons for a resume gap
- How to get a job with a gap in your resume
- Sample answers to explain an employment gap in your resume
What is a resume gap?
A resume gap is any period of time between jobs lasting more than a few months that shows a gap in employment.
No matter the reason, it’s important to have an answer prepared when talking about your gap in employment.
What are some reasons for a resume gap?
- Maternity or paternity leave
- Career transition
- Being a primary caregiver
- Medical leave
- Going back to school
- Corporate layoffs
- Termination with cause
Maternity or paternity leave
Taking time off for family is nothing to be ashamed of. This can be a great opportunity for employers to see that you are driven and have strong values when it comes to taking care of your loved ones.
If you are switching industries or taking time to gain new skills, make sure you come prepared with an explanation of why you are making the switch and any additional training or certifications you have acquired.
Someone is a primary caregiver
Being a primary caregiver for an elderly parent, child, or partner can often keep someone out of the job market for several months.
Most employers will overlook these types of resume gaps, as long as you explain your situation clearly and confidently in the interview.
If you have had to take a medical leave, it is important to be honest and upfront about your situation.
Most employers are understanding of medical issues and will be more than willing to discuss the matter further in interviews.
Going back to school
Returning to school can often mean taking time off from work. When discussing a gap in the interview, make sure you explain the new skills or qualifications that you have acquired during this time.
Getting training or certifications
Getting additional training or certifications can often take time away from the job market.
Explain to employers what you have been doing during this period and any new skills you have acquired that may benefit their company.
Spent time looking for a new job
Be honest and upfront about the amount of time you have spent looking for a new job and any challenges you faced while searching.
Don’t forget to emphasize how these experiences have made you an even stronger candidate for the job.
If you were laid off due to corporate restructuring or other economic reasons, explain the circumstances in a positive light.
Emphasize how this experience taught you valuable lessons that you can use in your next job and any new skills you have acquired during this period.
Termination for cause
If you were terminated for cause, be sure to explain the circumstances surrounding your termination.
In addition, highlight any steps that you have taken to address and correct any issues that may have contributed to your termination.
By taking ownership of the situation, employers will be more likely to give you a chance in their organization.
How to get a job with a gap in your resume
The best way to get a job if you have a game in your resume is to be honest. Explaining the resume gap with confidence, focusing on your qualifications, explaining how you’re a great fit for the role and doubling-down on your excitement will also help immensely.
Be honest about your resume gap
The first step is to be honest and upfront about your gap in employment.
Employers appreciate candor, so explain the circumstances surrounding your gap in a positive light and emphasize how it has made you an even stronger candidate for the job.
Focus on your qualifications
A gap in employment doesn’t erase your skills or the years of experience you gained in developing them.
Instead of worrying about the gap, focus on what you have to offer employers and how these qualifications can benefit their company.
Explain the resume gap with confidence
No matter the reason for the gap, be sure to explain it confidently and without hesitation.
Employers are often more understanding of a gap in employment than you think so try not to be apologetic for the gap. You’ve got nothing to be sorry for.
Emphasize why you’re still the best fit
In addition to explaining the gap in employment, be sure to emphasize why you are still the best fit for the job.
Highlight any special skills or qualifications that make you stand out from other candidates and how these can benefit their organization.
Keep your answer short
When discussing a gap in employment, it’s important to keep your answer short and to the point.
Don’t ramble on about irrelevant details that are not related to the gap. Instead, focus on explaining the reasons for your gap with precision and confidence.
Have a definitive ending to your explanation
End your explanation with a clear and definitive statement to avoid rambling or trailing off.
For example, you can end by saying something like “I am confident that my qualifications will be an asset to your organization” or “My experiences during this period have made me even more prepared for the job.”
Highlight how excited you are to reenter the workforce
Emphasize your excitement to reenter the workforce and explain why this particular job is appealing to you.
This will show employers that you are ready and willing to take on the job and that you have the enthusiasm to make a difference in their organization.
Be prepared for follow-up questions
Employers may still have follow-up questions about the gap in your resume so be prepared to answer them.
By being prepared for these questions, you can show employers that you are confident and qualified for the job.
Don’t let your employment gap hold you back
Finally, don’t let a gap in employment prevent you from getting the job you really want.
With the right attitude and preparation, you can demonstrate to employers that you are the best fit for their organization. So don’t let a gap in your resume stop you from achieving your goals.
Sample answers to explain an employment gap in your resume
If you were a caregiver during your employment gap:
“I took the time off to care for my elderly parent, which gave me valuable experience in understanding and responding to the needs of individuals. I am now ready to transition back into the workforce and utilize these newfound skills.”
If you were part of a corporate layoff during your resume gap:
“I was laid off due to budget cuts, but I used this time to take courses in accounting and finance to update my skills. I am now confident that these new qualifications make me an even stronger candidate for the job.”
If your employment gap was due to personal development:
“I took a break from work to travel and gain perspective on different cultures. This allowed me to develop strong communication and interpersonal skills that I can bring to your organization.”
If your resume gap was due to medical leave:
“I took some time off due to a medical condition. I am now back in good health and ready to dedicate my skills and experience to your company.”
If your employment gap was due to continuing education or job training:
“I took some time off to pursue additional education or job training. I now possess a new set of qualifications that will make me an even more valuable asset to your team.”
If you were terminated for cause during your resume gap:
“I was terminated from my previous job due to a misunderstanding. After some reflection, I realized the part I played and the importance of being a team player, and have taken steps to develop better communication skills. I am now confident that these new qualifications make me an even stronger candidate for the job.”
Getting a job with a gap in your resume
A gap in your resume isn’t the end of the world. By being prepared and confident in explaining your gap, you can show employers why you are the best fit for their organization.
Don’t let a resume gap stop you from applying for the jobs you really want and achieving great things in the next phase of your career.
Remember: be honest and confident when talking about your gap and highlight how excited you are to reenter the workforce.
By following these tips and sample answers, you can explain any gap in employment on your resume and demonstrate that you are still the best fit for the job.
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