Throughout your professional career, there may be a time where you needed to take time off for one reason or another. Maybe you were taking care of a family member, wanted to go back to school, or were laid off. Whatever the reason may be, chances are a potential employer is going to ask about it.
You are not alone when it comes to having a gap in your employment. However when it comes to talking to a recruiter or hiring manager, you need to be able to address the matter and explain the reasons behind it. Take a look at the following advice that can help you clarify any employment gap so you can concentrate on landing the job.
Be prepared to get asked about it
If you have taken some type of time off and it’s on your resume, you have to realize that a recruiter or hiring manager is going to question you about it. Just as you should be prepared for the other typical phone screen or interview questions, this area is one you need to concentrate on as well. It’s important to take the time to develop an explanation as to why you have this employment gap and practice this answer several times before talking to someone about it. Providing this type of context to your interviewer will help them to better understand your situation.
Be upfront about the issue
When talking to a recruiter or interviewer about gaps in your employment, you need to be 100% honest with them. It will not help to tip toe around a reason, or even worse, lie about what happened. You don’t want that to come back and haunt you at another point during the hiring process, or after you get hired. Knowing there are a number of causes of why you may have took time off, no matter what the reason is, it’s crucial to be upfront about the issue and be able to address it directly.
Explain how you’re qualified
Regardless of why you took time off, you need to demonstrate to a potential employer how you were still maintaining your skillset or learning new ones. Even if you weren’t actively employed, you need to show how you kept your professional development moving forward. Did you enroll in a training course at a local university or take online classes? Were you heavily involved in a local charity or volunteer events? Did you work on a few freelance projects? You have to be able to prove you stayed up to date on what was going on in your industry. Explain that you were able to remain active on social media, read popular news articles or publications, or maybe even started your own blog. A recruiter or hiring manager will want to see, that despite your time away from the office, you’re still highly qualified for the position at hand.
Show your motivation and confidence
People have employment gaps on their resume for one reason or another, but it’s up to you to show that you still are motivated and want the job. Don’t be embarrassed or try to avoid the matter; you need to demonstrate your confidence by fully explaining the situation. You never know what the interviewer may have gone through in their own professional career, so your story may resonate with them as well. As long as you keep a positive attitude and develop a concrete explanation, this part of your resume won’t deter you from showing your credentials.
At the end of the day, you have to be able to speak to every part of your resume, employment gaps included. If you truly take the time to prepare yourself for this part of the interview, you will be able to explain whatever the situation may be with confidence and fluency. Don’t let this one part of your resume distract you from displaying your qualifications and knowledge.
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