Gap on Your Resume? 5 Tips for Explaining a Work Break

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For candidates at all levels, one of the most challenging aspects of the search is dealing with employment gaps. Whether they happened due to a life experience or a layoff, they’re tough to explain. More than that, they serve as a red flag for hiring managers, which can impact your job search success.

How do you overcome these and position yourself in the best possible light? Here are some tips to help you.

Be Honest

First and foremost, be honest. If, for instance, you were laid off, it’s tempting to hide the situation. Instead, you should explain it and then refocus the hiring manager’s attention on your strengths and why you’re a fit for the job.

Be Ready to Talk About the Gap

Whatever you do, don’t wing it during the interview. A resume gap is one key area a hiring manager will almost always ask about. So expect it. Otherwise, you might stutter and stammer your way through your answer, impacting your chances of getting called back for a second interview.

Be Strategic in What You Say

When you have a resume gap, it’s important to focus on what you learned during your time off. Whether you were home caring for children or an aging relative, or traveling the world because you needed a break, make sure you’re able to discuss how those activities impacted your personal and professional growth.

Be Brief and Focused

While you should communicate clearly about your gap, when you do, keep it brief. You don’t need to go into great detail or overshare information. In addition, if your gap was due to termination or layoff, then it’s likely an emotional experience. However, when discussing it, remain professional, divulging only what you need to and then moving on to why you’re a good match for the job.

Be Confident.

What you say to a hiring manager is vital. But so is how you say it. Be mindful of your body language when you’re talking about your resume gap. It’s easy to get nervous and let stress take control. Yet, if you’re upfront and prepared ahead of time, you should be able to explain your gap with confidence.

Resume gaps are common for many job seekers. It’s how you discuss them that’s important for a hiring manager. Don’t panic or get discouraged. Simply follow the tips above to successfully overcome the job gap and position yourself for job search success.

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