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Aug. 23, 2017

Explaining Gaps in Your Resume to Employers

Landing a job is no easy task, especially if you’ve been out of the workforce for a stretch of time. If you’re hoping an interviewer will overlook the fact that you haven’t worked in nine months, think again. Any employment gap longer than three months will be noticed so be prepared to discuss it.

Whether you took a year off to go backpacking in Asia, spent time raising a child, or got let go from your previous job and a hard time finding employment, you can use it to your advantage. More often than not, your time away from the workforce could have made you a better candidate for the job. Maybe you learned a new skill, found a passion, or developed a new perspective on your industry.

Here are a few common reasons for resume gaps and how to handle them during an interview.

Extended Travel

It’s probably not in your best interest to describe how you were a beach bum for eight months in various countries. Instead, reflect on the professional skills and accomplishments you can pull from your experience. Did you volunteer, write a blog, or learn soft skills like adaptability, communication, or budget planning? These are all skills that can be transferred into the workplace.

Continuing Education

Earning a degree or certificate in any particular field can give you an advantage over other candidates, even if you took a short break from the workplace to focus on it. When explaining this to a hiring manager, detail what you learned and how that education will help you be more knowledgeable about the job duties you will be performing. If you went back to school to learn project management, explain how this will help you effectively plan, develop, oversee, and complete large-scale projects.

Raising a Child

Most employers will be understanding of this type of work gap and won’t question you further. However, if you feel that you learned transferable skills during this time, be sure to mention it. Volunteering at a parent-teacher association, managing multiple schedules, or leading a fundraiser are all valuable experiences.

In-between Jobs

After you tell your interviewer that you were unemployed and looking for a job, a common follow-up question will be, “Why did you leave your previous position?” Be prepared to answer this question honestly without badmouthing your previous company or boss.

Whatever the reason for leaving the workforce, a little preparation can help you manage the gaps in your resume and use them to your advantage when searching for your next opportunity.

If you’re ready to jump back into work and are unsure of where to start, check out our job board. We have part-time and full-time positions, both temporary and long-term, so you can ease back into your career at your own pace.


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