How to Handle Employment Gaps in 4 Easy Steps

By Connor Barry on February 28, 2022

Key Points:

  • Two types of employment gaps
  • Do not mislead
  • Achievements during gap
  • Word of advice

Gaps in employment happen, and there’s a way to handle the conversation if it becomes a topic during your job search. For example, if you have a hole in your resume that is longer than a few months, a recruiter will likely ask you about the absence during the interview process. Both parties must discuss the time of unemployment, and there’s also a fitting way for a candidate to address any of the interviewers’ concerns to the candidate’s advantage.

More often than not, the employer or recruiter is wondering if the employment gap is something they should be concerned about or not an issue. Unfortunately, without an explanation, a candidate’s application may be discarded, so if an employment gap applies to you, there are a few steps you should follow.

1. Types of Employment

Before the interview, it’s essential to understand what type of employment gap you identify with to help better you answer any questions the recruiter may have. There are two types of unemployment, involuntary and voluntary. An involuntary employment gap includes being laid off and or taking care of a loved one that is ill. A voluntary employment gap is taking time off to travel or raise a child. No matter the type gap, there’s a way to discuss the time in your resume without it being the reason an employer disregards your application.

2. Transparency

Don’t try and hide the fact that you have an employment gap. Hiding that time in your resume will only come across as misleading and distrustful. Instead, acknowledge the time and explain yourself without justifying yourself. There’s no need to provide every detail regarding unemployment, only enough to communicate the circumstance confidently and clearly. Sharing too many details regarding your unemployment could make the recruiter or interviewer uncomfortable, which is not the lasting impression you want to make during the interview.

3. Achievements

If you completed any training or certifications during your unemployment, this would be the time to highlight those. On the other hand, if you were unable to complete any courses or certifications, talk about the soft skills that you developed during that time. Extra time spent towards self-development shows employers your dedication to yourself, the role, and your resilience.

4. Word of Advice

Lastly, explain why you feel like now is the right time to enter back into the workforce. Highlighting the positive outcomes of unemployment and how you can demonstrate your new skills in the role you’re applying for will set the interview back on track. If the position you’re applying for requests a cover letter, this can also be a great tactic to address the gap in your resume.

The overall goal of mentioning the unemployment gap is to soothe any concerns your interviewer may have. By addressing their concerns, you’re not dwelling on the past but looking towards your career future. If you’re looking for more articles on how to handle interviews best, be sure to check out our blog for articles like 4 Bad Habits To Avoid During Your Job Search.


All images from Unsplash

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