There could be a million and one reasons why you have a gap in your Work History. Knowing how to explain these spaces can be daunting and not knowing how to address these whether in an interview or on paper could cost you the job of your dreams.
We’ve put together our top tips for explaining these gaps, and how to ace the questions around them in your interview.
You can't just sit and hope that your interviewers will just miss the fact you have a gap in your career history. Your interviewer will want to know why you had that break and what you got up to during it, to avoid awkward conversations or feeling unprepared for the questions it is best to be proactive and tell them in advance by summarising your career breaks on your cover letter accompanying your CV.
Even if you feel awkward about what you did in your gap, being transparent is the best course of action.
Lying will not help you either, if you went to Ayia Napa as a rep but told your employer you were working at an animal sanctuary in the Rainforest you leave yourself open for some awkward conversations further down the line. Employers can easily check up on your career history or for that matter, your social media pictures.
If your gap was down to redundancy or being dismissed it’s still crucial you are honest. Unemployment unfortunately happens, and it does not discriminate, but your character will define your first and lasting impression.
If you feel like your employment gaps have been holding you back from getting a first or second-stage interview, try to use that to your advantage. Attending a class or course, or volunteering will demonstrate your eagerness to work and fill your time as well as setting your CV apart from others who may have similar gaps.
Just waiting for a role to drop in your lap can elongate your unemployment, try to be as proactive as possible.
Words hold weight
There are a vast number of reasons why you have had a career gap, whatever the reason is you can always put it in a positive light to a future employer.
Family issues – this can be hard to address depending on the severity, however, your employer is human and will understand. Try to mention you might’ve taken time out but you are now ready to refocus and renter the workplace.
Travelling – With travelling becoming more and more popular for the “gap year” you will likely have an employer who may have done some themselves or have children away travelling. Always put this in a good light focusing on your “experience of different cultures makes you feel more prepared for the workplace.”
Redundancy – redundancy can strike at any time, we never know what the climate will do out there for any length of time. Focus on your achievements whilst employed, were you involved in a successful project? Did you implement a process or software that was successful? It’s best not to turn on your previous employer in this situation, be positive.
And remember, whatever your reasoning, the length of time can make it easier or harder to explain. A few months vs a few years, the explanation will need to vary in depth depending on this. If you took time out to be a stay-at-home mum or dad, or care for relatives or even find yourself abroad, if the explanation of the gap is perfect these shouldn’t hinder your chances of that job.