Gaps on a resume don’t have to be a dealbreaker, but it’s essential to address them head-on. When you walk into an interview, you know that you have a resume gap that will be brought up by the interviewer. Take the time to plan how you will speak about it. If you just hope they don’t bring it up and don’t prepare, you’ll be left scrambling to come up with an acceptable response.
How you address resume gaps can make a world of difference when you are trying to land a new position. Mishandle it, and you can turn a minor blip into a major fiasco. Handle it well, and it will soon be forgotten.
Here’s how to address common causes of resume gaps.
You Were Laid Off
While being laid off is painful, it’s also not typically your fault. Employers know this. Business units close, demand drops off, companies change hands. Employees are often collateral damage.
Discuss what you know about why the layoff occurred, and the reason given at the time. Mention how you’ve used your downtime, such as adding to your skillset, volunteering, or networking with others in your industries. Don’t get excessively bogged down in details and never badmouth the employer.
You Were Fired
Being fired is one of the most challenging situations to discuss. It’s emotional, and it might still sting to talk about. Be honest without casting blame. If you believe you were mistreated, keep it to yourself. It will only reflect poorly on you.
Briefly outline the circumstances surrounding your termination, and what you learned from the experience. Plenty of people get fired, whether because of their mistakes or not being the right fit for the position. The important thing is that you can move past it and grow.
You Went Back to School
Leaving a job to return to school will be seen as positive by most employers. It can increase your skills and marketability. It opens doors to new opportunities. Share what you learned from the experience with the interviewer and turn the conversation back to the value you bring to the company, especially with the additional education you have attained.
You Left for Health Reasons
Be brief and straightforward in discussing your health. Let them know that you took the time to overcome the challenge and are fully ready to recommit to your career. Take a similar approach if you left the workforce to care for a loved one. Keep the explanation brief and focused, and show your enthusiasm for heading back to work.
Ultimately, discussing a gap in your resume doesn’t have to be a challenge. Just use the appropriate approach, and you can do it successfully. If you’d like to learn more about overcoming hurdles, the team at A.R. Mazzotta can help. Contact us today to see how our job search expertise can benefit you.