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How to Explain Gaps in Your Resume

When you’re interviewing for a job, there’s no use trying to avoid or circumvent the fact that you have gaps in your resume. The hiring manager will spot them, and you may as well address them head-on. But how can you explain gaps in your resume or employment history without sounding like you’re making an excuse?  

Use these tips to explain resume gaps in the right way:  

Be honest. 

Rule number one for explaining gaps in your resume: be honest with your answer. Don’t lie — it’s just not worth it. If you were laid off, state it plainly. If you were fired, explain what happened and what you learned from the experience. If you took time away from work for personal matters, perhaps to care for a loved one or explore another career path, tell the interviewer or hiring manager about that time and why it was important to step away from your job. More than likely, the person interviewing you will be sympathetic and understanding.  

Turn a negative into a positive.

It’s important that you relate the time spent away from work back to the position you’re currently interviewing for. Explain what you did during the gap and how it can help you now — talk about how you stayed current in your industry, various professional courses or events you may have attended, or any freelancing you did. The key is getting the interviewer to understand that you were still engaged in your career and field the entire time you were not working and that you’re ready to get back to work now.   

Steer the conversation back to the open position.

There’s no need to dwell on resume gaps, and a good interviewer will move on after they’ve gotten a sensible explanation. Do your best to steer the conversation back to the position you’re applying for. Try saying something like, “I learned a lot while away from work, and I’m excited to apply that knowledge on-the-job again. I would love to do that here as a part of your team.” If the conversation still heads in the wrong direction, you can tell the interviewer that you don’t feel comfortable talking about the gap any more than you already have.  

Gaps in your resume and employment history don’t have to be a major issue. Almost everyone has them! The trick is explaining them in such a way that adds value to your status as a candidate, rather than taking away from it.  

You’re not alone in your employment search. High Profile is here to help. Contact our staffing service today by calling 972-991-7900 or visit our Job Portal.