Resume gaps act like a red flag to recruiters and employers so if you are between jobs and looking for work then you need to be prepared to explain them. There are a myriad of reasons why you might have gaps on your resume.
Unemployment is high, now at 6.1% so many jobs are scarce and this is a common reason why you may be struggling to find employment in your field. Your company may have downsized and staff let go, or maybe you left your job because you didn’t find it fulfilling and wanted to pursue other career opportunities.
In any case, when it gets to the interview stage, you should expect a query into your work history gaps. Handling the explanation is a matter of forethought and finesse however…
Honesty is the Best Policy
Don’t get creative with your job history. No extending work dates by a few weeks or months, no over-talking, or straight out lying about your skills, competencies and previous positions held. Sure make your-self look good, but don’t embellish.
Exaggerating your work history is not an un-common tactic and most recruiters and interviewers encounter it often enough, so eventually they pick up on it. Maybe not in the interview (if you’re lucky), but then they talk to your referees, do their homework and usually by the time they’re ready to make their final decision, the gig is up.
Eventually you’ll have to prove you can handle what they expect of you so if you aren’t capable, it will raise eyebrows and bring your position and integrity into question.
Gaps Don’t Have to be the Enemy
Don’t go into the interview and expect a negative reception to the gaps on your CV. Remember that business today is transforming, looking to a more flexible, casualised work-force, so many more people are changing jobs throughout their lives than ever before in history. It’s becoming much more common and accepted as the norm.
When faced with the interviewer asking questions about your time between work, try to, bridge the gap (pun intended) by explaining how you’ve kept up with industry trends and continued educating yourself while between jobs.
If you’ve been studying, discuss this. What and why, where you want your degree to take you, and tie it all into how furthering your education will benefit their business. Turn the gap around and sell yourself.
On the other hand, perhaps you had been working for many years for the same business and decided you needed to recharge, take a sabbatical. It’s pretty common. So keep that in mind when explaining the gap. This puts you in charge; it was your decision and implies you have the means to afford to take a break.
If you did something constructive for your career while taking downtime, then mention it. Wrote a related blog for fun, kept up with industry news, went to a seminar, so on.
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