We have all been groomed to believe that gaps in a resume can spell doom during an interview. Often, these gaps are hard to explain, regardless of the circumstances surrounding the absence from the workforce. However, any situation that led to time away from the working world can be managed with proper preparation.
Whether you left for personal reasons, educational opportunities, due to a layoff, or were even fired, it is possible to address the gap in a way that encourages the interviewer to give you a chance. To help you prepare for the interview, here are some tips for framing things in a positive light.
Start Before the Interview
If you have a recent gap in your employment history, and you can provide insight simply, feel free to mention it in your cover letter. For example, if you left the workforce for additional training or education, a volunteer opportunity, or to write a book, consider being upfront about it. Sometimes it is better to take a forward stance as this prevents hiring managers from making assumptions about what may have happened, as they will have basic information about what actually occurred.
Your work history is verifiable in a number of ways, so deception isn’t an option. Even if you were fired, it is better to be honest about what occurred than to try to skew the reality.
While this can feel risky, the results can be positive. Many people have experienced periods of unemployment, and being fired at some point in your life isn’t necessarily uncommon. Instead, maintain your integrity and face the situation confidently.
If you were fired, make sure to discuss what you learned from the experience, as well as how it will make you a better employee in the future. Showing a level of self-awareness and a willingness to not just accept responsibility when warranted, but to use it as a source of growth, can actually work in your favor.
Describe the Gap
Just because you weren’t employed, that doesn’t mean you weren’t productive. If you took that time to learn new skills, even outside of a formal classroom, feel free to present that information. If you did take formal classes, include those details in the education section of your resume and refer to it when the gap is discussed.
Additionally, if you used the time to freelance, consult, or volunteer, all of those experiences should be discussed. In some cases, they can even be listed on your resume as you would traditional employment, effectively eliminating the appearance of a gap at all.
As mentioned before, most people will experience periods of unemployment throughout their lives. Showing that you managed that time well and worked to make yourself a stronger candidate in the future demonstrates initiative and drive. And those are both traits that employers are interested in finding.
If you are looking for a new employment opportunity, the professionals at The Squires Group can help you explore your options. Contact us and see what is available to you.