You may be surprised to hear that 59% of Americans have a gap of some sort listed on their resume. This could be from taking time off to start a family, relocating to a new area, or going back to school. Whatever the reason is, you can expect employers to ask why.
While it seems like a simple enough question to answer you must be prepared to provide a clear explanation. This is especially important when you are competing for a position with others who may not have any gaps on their resume. Will you be able to clearly explain how this gap worked to your advantage in your career path?
Rather than panicking or fumbling through a stress-induced explanation, you can answer the question with ease by preparing and following the tips listed below.
First, provide an honest and balanced explanation. Refrain from oversharing! Explaining that you have been laid off due to organizational changes or that there has been a decline in the workforce that has caused you to be unemployed is not shameful. When you provide a genuinely honest response the interviewer will see that you weren’t hiding anything or running away, providing an instant comfort in the conversation for you both. Remember that the explanation is not the same as the justification, so when you give your explanation, don't try to get their buy-in for the decision you made.
Maintain your confidence in yourself and your reasonings. Let the interviewer know what you were working on in your downtime. Were you actively volunteering in your community? Did you attend any classes or conferences to further your education? Showcasing new skills and detail any situations you applied them in is imperative to show how you’ve grown during your time off. Highlight why getting back into the workforce and this position is of importance.
Your inclusive experience and skills will more than likely exceed the time of the gaps on your resume. So you should only really need to spend about a minute or two to explain them away. Remaining confident and focused on highlighting the positive new skills you’ve acquired are all you need to highlight why you are the best candidate for the role!