How to Explain Gaps in Your Employment History

It’s all too common to face challenges when you’re hunting for jobs, especially if you don’t have an impressive resume. However, what if one of those challenges is the gaps in your employment history? Many of us take time off from work every now and then. Sometimes, it’s by choice – taking care of a terminally ill family member, raising a child, or going back to school. In other cases, your time off may happen because you were made redundant and couldn’t secure a new job in a short period of time.

Having one giant gap in your employment history can be a pushing factor for employers or recruiters. The good news is that there are ways to add a positive spin on the gap! Whether the gap is small or big, you should learn how to explain it effectively and come off as the ideal applicant for the role.

Here’s some tips to explain employment gaps on your resume during an interview.

During an interview

The key to this is to be confident and show the interviewer that you have nothing to hide. While a gap in your employment history will not get you a rejection directly, but being dishonest and trying to hide it. You should have a sound reason for your time away from work. And keep these thoughts in mind when you’re explaining why:

  • Provide facts. Your reason should be logical and convincing.
  • Prove to them that you’re ready for the job. Clarify that the issue that had caused the time off is fully resolved and will never be a hindrance to the job that you’re applying for.
  • Emphasize why you want the job despite the existing gaps.

And these are some lines you can use for your statements, if each applies:

  • I have been scouting for jobs, and have not found something that fits me well. I believe it’s not being picky, but being certain of what I want which is the reason why I’m confident that I’ll do my best in this job.
  • Unfortunately, I had to resign from my previous company since I had to take care of my parents. Being the eldest in the family, and all of my siblings are still in school. I’ve decided to hire a caregiver, so I can go on my career and continue pursuing growth.
  • As a practicing artist and writer, I have decided to explore more on my art practice as I was exposed to another literary type and/or medium. With these personal explorations, I was able to acquire new learning and skills which, I believe, are great aid in the job that I am applying for.
  • I’ve decided to venture into personal business where I did similar things which the job that I am applying for requires me. The skills that I have learned as independent entrepreneur can be applied to team dynamics which equates to success and productivity.

For your curriculum vitae or resume

A well-written resume and curriculum vitae are crucial for job applications as these are the sole basis your potential employers can judge you of before the interview. Truth be told, many applicants were rejected at this stage. To make your employment gaps less obvious on a resume, you can:

Use dates to cover up the gap

When listing dates on your resume, you may put years instead of both month/year. In this way, you can cover a brief employment gap. However, be prepared to answer accurately during the interview.

Include other experiences gained during the gap

It’s good to list down all the experiences you gained when you weren’t employed. Did you do any freelance or consulting work? Maybe some volunteer work in some non-profit organizations? All those experiences are useful and should be included on your resume. If you took some online courses to improve your skills, add that in he education section of your resume.

Use your cover letter to explain the employment gap

When you have employment gaps that look off on your resume, such as you took time off from work to care for your aged parents or to raise a newborn child. You can use your cover letter to explain them briefly. However, you don’t have to specifically emphasize on the gap. Keep it simple and precise.

What’s a cover letter?

A cover letter is the summary of all your recent achievements. This is not required to some employers, but most do. With this, you can briefly explain what has happened, so they would not have a bad impression. The thing about cover letters is, they make the employee reviewing simpler as they entail the most important milestones you will mention in it. Be careful in choosing the ones that you’ll put!

Find these tips useful? We have more career advice, workplace tips, and job search tips on our blog. Don’t forget to check them out!

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