How to Address a Career Gap

Tuesday, March 17, 2015 by Leylanorman

Career gaps make employers nervous. What were you doing all the time you weren't working' Are you reliable enough to keep a job? What is so important to you that you didn't work for an extended period? These are the kinds of thoughts that run through employers heads as they look at your resume with a several-month or a several-year gap. Addressing that gap in the interview is essential to reassuring the potential employer that you are 100 percent ready to succeed in the job.

First, be honest. Don't say you were taking graduate courses in business when you were just sunning on a beach in Hawaii. Employers want to know that you can be trusted from the very beginning. Lies can always come back to haunt you, and a lie on your resume or in the job interview can definitely be grounds for firing. Just tell the employer what you were doing during your time away from work. It is as simple as that.

Next, present what you were doing away from work in a positive light. You can tell the employer you took time off of work to reassess your personal and professional priorities. During that time, you went to the beach to get away from the daily grind in order to think better. While you were there, perhaps you took a part-time job for a few months in a shop selling surfboards. Maybe you did some volunteer work in your field or devoted your time to creating a mobile app that would benefit tell sunbathers what the UV radiation level was like each day. Whatever you did, share it in a way that emphasizes that there was a reasonable purpose behind your stint away from the cubicle and how what you did to improve yourself.

Finally, bring the focus back to why you are the perfect fit for the job. During your time at the beach, perhaps you had an interesting conversation with another tourist who worked for 20 years in the industry you want to enter. Maybe that conversation changed the course of your professional life, and now you want to make a career change based on what that person told you and the subsequent industry research you did.

Remember: be honest, positive, and refocus the conversation on how the gap has been positive for you professionally.