How To Explain Gaps In Your Work History

White laptop, female hand, note, pen, phone, desk

Ever filled out a job application that asked you to explain any employment gaps in your work history? I can’t lie. I hate those questions. It’s almost as if they’re judging you for not being employed for a specific period of time. But instead of clamming up on this question, there’s no better way of getting around it except to go through it.

I have unemployment gaps on my resume. And even though they aren’t too widely spread, any employer would wonder in their mind what happened during that four month time frame. How did I go from having a job to not having a job?

Were you fired? Did you leave voluntarily? Did you want to take time off? The key to answering this question is knowing the answer and reassuring the potential employer that it is no longer an issue.

Why do you have gaps in your employment history?

For me, my answer was quite simple. I worked with a company for nearly four years. When I got promoted, I realized it wasn’t a good fit and I decided to step down. Because I’ve been employed with this company for quite some time, I wanted to take a moment to reassess what I am looking for in my career. I wanted to make sure I found that “right fit” going forward. And honestly, that’s what I’ve told employers.

Now they can either decide that my response is potentially a red flag or they can appreciate my honesty. The fact that I left my job without another lined up can sound risky and also imply that the work conditions were strained. It can even suggest that I was forced to move on. Or, they can appreciate that I value my time and the employers time by taking a moment to dig deep and figure out what I am looking for. Either way, I provided the truth and clearly explained that the situation is no longer an issue.

How to explain the gaps in your work history?
-Acknowledge why there are gaps
-What are you doing to correct the problem
-Reassure that you are now moving forward
-Be honest

Do not look at gaps in your work history as an eyesore on your resume. Instead, find the positivity in them.

Even if your reasons aren’t the best, addressing it confidently will assure the employer that it’s handled. Practice how you’d like to respond to this question a few times so that it rolls off naturally. If you have to stumble over or fail to clearly explain your reasons, it may seem as though you’re still going through these issues.

Do not lie about the gaps in your work history. It will seem easy to stretch the truth, but remember the employer has the resources to check your employment history. Even if it wasn't a big deal to them initially, being dishonest about it could be reason enough to no longer consider you for the job.

Be real. Be honest. Be confident.

No comments