At one time or another, many people have a gap in their employment history. Sometimes the gap is by choice and other times it might be because you were laid off or fired. How you explain an employment gap on the resume, in the job interview or on LinkedIn is dependent on your personal situation and what you were doing while you were not employed.
In all cases, it’s important to emphasize the positive that occurred during your time off and the constructive activities you did, such as volunteer work, workshops, consulting or furthering your education. According to statistics from the US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics in November 2019, there were 5.9 million unemployed, much lower than the 9.8 million in years past.
Show Career Progression and Not Stagnation
Whether you have stayed at the same company for 15 years or you took 10 years off to raise your children, you want your resume to demonstrate progression in your career. At the same company, you can show how you contributed to the company’s growth, how your scope and responsibilities in your job changed or the promotions you accepted while you were there. If you stayed home to raise your family, include the skills you developed during that time off, educational programs you completed or conferences you attended. Whatever happened during your time away from work, do not hide it but explain it. During the hiring process, it is essential you maintain strong integrity and demonstrate it. Your future employers are interested in how you’ll handle the hard questions.
Be Prepared to Discuss Gaps in Your Resume
Just as you would think about and prepare answers about previous positions or job skills, your future employers are going to ask about the time you may have taken off. Whether you have been taking care of aging parents, raising children or took a sabbatical to travel the world, your future employers understand that life happens. It’s important to think about and communicate the skills you picked up along the way, such as negotiation, communicating persuasively, organization or adapting to the unknown. It’s very possible to acquire solid experience doing volunteer and community work or running a home. As you think about your answer, mention the activities that reinforce the job you’re seeking.
Be Confident and Don’t Panic
It might be easier said than done but discussing how you came to be unemployed is not as uncommon as you might think. As you are answering questions about a period of unemployment, remember you’re not alone. It’s also important to steer clear of explanations that identify your previous employer as a problem. Stay positive about why you left your job and what you accomplished while you were gone.
If you were dismissed from your past job, there is nothing left to do but be ready to explain it during the interview without laying blame on your past employer. Your future employer wants to know you are ready to take responsibility for your part in being dismissed. Practice an honest answer that explains what happens, while demonstrating your poise and professionalism.
Let Stellar Help You Find a Place to Grow!
At Stellar Staffing Solutions, it’s our goal to help you grow your career. Contact our professional recruiters today so we can begin working together to find a great fit between your skillset and your future employer’s business needs.