How Do I Explain Gaps In My Work History?
One of the first things a potential employer checks on an applicant’s resume are gaps in their employment. From an employer’s standpoint, a significant gap in your work history is a red flag. They may fear hiring an employee that has a track record of leaving jobs and being unemployed. Here are some of the best ways you can explain a gap in employment and some tips to show you how having a gap in employment can actually work for your benefit.
1) One of the easiest explanations for a gap in employment is continuing education. If you simply claim the 3-4 months of unemployment as a time for “skill-building” because you attended college or technical classes then not only will this explain the large gap between jobs, but will also show the interviewer that you take your field of study and work seriously.
2) Another easy way to explain an employment gap is by freelancing. Freelancers have no employers or human resource departments to contact so applicants don’t need to worry about verifying their freelance work. Freelance writing, Web design, computer programming and contracted customer service positions are all legitimate freelancing positions that you could use on your resume to explain unaccounted time between jobs.
3) If you were a freelancer or were self-employed for a period of time, make sure you identify what you were doing in that field. Some interviewers look at “self-employed” and immediately think “unemployed”. Remember that most self-employed people usually don’t return to a typical workplace. Have an explanation ready as to what you did while self-employed and why you need to return to normal workplace.
4) Although many people tend to exaggerate certain areas of their resume, make sure you aren’t simply making up stories. It may get you through an interview, but many times employers will check out your stories. If you claim to have ran a business during the gap time there would be public records that would prove it. It can become an extremely uncomfortable conversation if your prospective employer decides to double-check your story.
5) If worst comes to worst, just be honest. Tell them that you were unable to find a job or that you simply took a break because you wanted to explore your options. Maybe you just wanted to stay home and take are of your children, or maybe you were simply a homemaker during these times. Most employers value honesty and will understand. With the poor condition of the economy and unemployment being at an all-time high, employers are going to be used to seeing gaps in employment. If you simply explain the situation truthfully many times employers will look right over it.
Explaining a gap in employment can be uncomfortable if you are not prepared. If you have an unexplained gap on your resume you need to make sure you have answer ready for the interviewer. Whether you decide to embellish this time or come simply stay honest, the trick is to simply be prepared for these questions and respond professionally.