For many companies, a break in a candidate’s employment record is an automatic red flag. Yet, it shouldn’t be a dealbreaker. Here are easy ways to talk about the employment gaps in your resume.
Tips for Talking About Employment Gaps
Own Your Gaps
There’s no sense trying to cover up employment gaps. They’re right there on your resume. Plus, interviewers can check your references to find out the true story. So, own your gaps! Don’t be embarrassed or apologetic. You took time off to raise kids. That’s admirable. You were laid off and had trouble finding another job during an economic downturn. That happens to lots of people. You’re trying to get your life back on track after spending time in prison. You should be applauded for working to overcome a difficult situation.
Have Straightforward Explanations
Employment gaps usually occur for personal reasons. And although you should be honest, you don’t need to share every nitty, gritty detail. Therefore, keep your answers short and to-the-point without sounding mysterious. For example, if you took time off to recover from cancer, say that. Because a statement like, “I had to deal with some health issues,” only leaves the interviewer with more questions than answers.
Put Your Gaps in the Past
Ultimately, employers are concerned your employment gap will come back to haunt them. Calm their fears by showing the event is clearly in the past. For instance, “My kids are grown up and I’m eager to go back to work full time.” Or, “I’ve fully recovered, and my doctor just gave me a clean bill of health.”
Focus on What You Learned
Many organizations worry someone’s who been out of the workforce will have an out-of-date qualifications. However, employment gaps can be phenomenal learning experiences. If you cared for a sick relative, you learned compassion, time management and how to complete complicated paperwork. If you were fired, you had a real-life lesson in humility as well as resilience. Highlight how your experiences have provided you with a unique and valuable skill set. And if you completed any industry-related training or volunteer work during your time away, be sure to mention that too.
Move the Conversation Forward
If you feel you’ve offered a reasonable explanation, feel free to move the conversation forward. Neither you nor you interviewer needs to dwell on the topic. After all, you’re ready to focus on the future NOT the past.
Finally, keep in mind, some companies will not hire you if you have an employment gap. Period. This is unfair, but unfortunately, it’s the way things are. Rather than dwelling on what you can’t change, look for organizations that are more flexible and understanding. In the end, those are going to be better placed to work anyway.
Are You Struggling to Overcome an Employment Gap in Your Resume?
The professional recruiters at FirstStaff would be happy to help. We place talented and reliable employees (including those with employment gaps) with top companies throughout Arkansas. Browse our available openings and discover your next job today!