Explaining a Gap of Unemployment on a Resume

How Do You Explain an Employment Gap in Your Resume?

Answer it honestly. According to KNF&T’s Staffing Consultants, honesty will always be the best policy.

Many job seekers are in a similar situation where, although your resume is impressive reflecting major accomplishments and responsibilities while working at great companies, there is a glaring gap in your employment history.

What is the best way to explain that window of time to a prospective employer? Don’t try to cover it up or sidestep around it – be honest. Maintaining your integrity throughout your job search will be critical to your success – and how you handle the “what were you doing during this period?” inquiry is no different.

ThinkstockPhotos-498952437There are many different reasons for gaps in one’s employment history:

  • Desire to spend more time with your family
  • Tending to a sick family member
  • Going to school to finish or pursue a degree
  • Making a life change – starting with your career

And the list goes on….

Regardless of your reasons, being genuine (and prepared) is the best piece of advice when dealing with this issue. Just as you would prepare for other interview questions, you need to do the same for the “unemployment gap” questions – especially if you have a gap of more than three months on your resume.

Even if you were dismissed from a previous job for specific reasons, be prepared to explain it – honestly. And as you discuss what you were doing during this time, talk about related skills you may have picked up along the way (e.g. communications, adapting to unpredictable situations, project management, etc.) — or perhaps you received a new certification or degree in a given area.  If it is relevant to the job you desire, talk about it.

KNF&T’s Senior Staffing Consultant, Maura Gilbert said “Try to really focus on why you want to work for the company you are applying to. Talk about the skills you have that relate to the specific position.”

By being honest and thoughtful with your answers, you will be able to turn a potentially uncomfortable situation into a positive conversation.

Looking for more interviewing guidance? A KNF&T Staffing Consultant will be happy to talk with you!

Click here to read our candidate interview guide, “The Successful Interview – Strategic Recommendations and Asking Insightful Questions”.