As you progress through your career you will likely bounce from job to job. Whether this is multiple jobs back-to-back, or taking some time off between opportunities, there is nothing wrong with either avenue. Although the job market currently favors the job seeker, thanks to a record-low unemployment rate, finding a job can still be difficult.
Due to the difficulty of finding a job, it is common to have employment gaps on your resume. The reasons for these gaps vary: raising a family, going back to school, traveling, etc. Regardless of your scenario, there will come a time where you need to explain these gaps to a future employer. The stigma surrounding employment gaps is often thought of negatively, but depending on how you discuss these decisions can make or break future job opportunities.
In an article for TopResume, Carson Kohler provides a few tips for job seekers who find themselves in this situation. Check them out below:
Often times in uncomfortable situations we tend to ramble on in order to avoid awkwardness. In an interview, oversharing can be a kiss of death. According to Kohler, “If not properly prepared, a moment of panic could lead to you divulging way too much information.”
There is a fine line between sharing and oversharing, especially during an interview. An interviewer may ask a variety of questions regarding your resume: why you left your last job, what made you take time off, why it took so long to find a job, etc. When preparing for an interview, formulate succinct explanations for these gaps if the question was to arise.
Without preparing for these inevitable questions, people tend to ramble on in defense of their employment history. Figuring out the right balance between explaining and oversharing will be to your benefit. It is common to feel like you need to justify stepping away from your career, but Kohler reminds that “you’re not out to prove anything.”
Highlight New Skills
Just because you weren’t working for a certain time, that doesn’t mean you weren’t learning. Maybe you took on some freelance opportunities, volunteered, audited a class or attended industry conferences. These are all experiences that can help you learn new skills that apply to potential future roles. This is a major thing to highlight during an interview.
Much like oversharing, continuing to dwell on your employment gap can hinder your chances at getting hired. Considering that this is clearly stated on your resume, you should be prepared to discuss, but once you do it is fine to move on with the conversation. Just because you’ve taken time off between jobs, that does not define who you are as an employee or determine if you’re qualified. More often than not, an employment gap provides a renewed perspective on your career and lights the fire to come back and make a difference at a company.
Employment gaps are bound to happen throughout the course of your career. Having the right mindset surrounding the decision for this break and being prepared to explain it is essential when re-entering the workforce. Thanks to these tips from Carson Kohler, you can provide the right amount of context if asked to explain these gaps on your resume.