EMPLOYMENT GAP EXPLANATION | Best way to answer revealed

 Are you in a situation where you haven't worked for a while? And now you have an interview to prepare for. And you're worried about having to explain why there's a gap in your resume. 

And does your gap feel like you're on one side of the canyon? And the rest of your future career is on the other? And you have no idea how to get over to the other side. Then you're in the right place. 

In this Article,  I'm going to cover this question in detail, so that you can walk into the interview feeling confident that you know exactly what to say when they ask you why there's a gap in your employment history. 

So you haven't worked for a while? Perhaps you've taken care of a sick family member, or caring for a young child. Maybe you lost your job in a company restructuring. Or... Maybe you just quit your job to go traveling or do something different for a while. 

Maybe there's a completely different reason why you're not working at the moment. And now you've got three months, six months, or perhaps even longer gap in your resume. And you're nervous what the interviewer are going to think about you because of it. 

I want to start by telling you that there's no need for you to be nervous or worried about it. It is more common than you think that people are having gaps in their resumes. Besides the more common reasons such as looking after family members or due to being made redundant, more and more people take a break in their career these days to go traveling, studying for a degree later in life, make career changes, etc. 

And with life expectancy increasing and many are having to work well into their 70s or even longer, or maybe even want to work that long, plus the fact that the average time a person stays in one job these days is just over four years. and only two if you're under And only two if you're under 35. Then it's easy to see why having a gap in your career is becoming more and more common. 

There are a few aspects to keep in mind when answering this question. 

  • The first one is the company perspective. From their point of view, they are looking to understand why you have a gap, what you did during that gap period, and they also want to make sure that they don't have to be worried that you're going to take another break if they decide to hire you. They want to make sure that you are ready to work and 100 percent committed to working for them.

  •  The second aspect is that you must be honest as you can when speaking about your career gap. Whatever you do, don't make the mistake of thinking that you can hide your gap period by trying to be smart with how you write your years and dates in the resume. Or hope that the interviewer won't bring it up. 

  • If you have an employment gap it will surface. If not before then most certainly in the pre-employment screening. If you made it that far in the recruitment process without the employment gap being mentioned, or discovered, it will look really bad if it is discovered at that late stage.

  •  And you won't get the job either, so the best thing that you can do for yourself is to be upfront and honest about it. 

  • The third aspect is... Similar to most of the questions in the job interview, you need to prepare the answer and tailor it to the job you're interviewing for. Don't go into any interview with the mindset that you'll be fine winging it and especially not when it comes to explaining a gap in your resume. You want to carefully read the job description and identify all the capabilities that they are looking for. 

  • And then what you want to dois to think about what you've done in your past and identify activities and achievements that shows that you have the capabilities that they're looking for. The fourth aspect to keep in mind when answering this question is that it doesn't require a long answer with a lot of details. 

  • Just give them the short version of why you had a gap, what you did during that gap and then turn the focus on to their position and why you are a strong candidate for it. 

  • Let's look at a few examples of how to talk about the employment gap based on some common reasons. Starting with why the gap and for how long.

  •  If you've been traveling, you can say... I resigned from my job a year ago to travel around Asia for a while. 

  • If you've been caring for a relative, you can say... I had to leave my job 10 months ago to take care of a close family member that had fallen ill. 

  • If you relocated, then you can say... I resigned from my job six months ago because I decided to move to a new country. 

  • If you've taken a career gap for no specific reasons, then you could say... After having worked without a break between employment for the last 10 years,I decided to take a break for a couple of months. 

  • If you've been made redundant then you could say... Due to restructuring at my previous company, my role was made redundant four months ago. 

  • Here the reason for the redundancy can also be things like company closure, site closure, etc. so you can swap the word restructuring with whatever is appropriate in your situation. 

  • If you got fired and your employment was terminated, This Article is all about how to answer the "Why were you fired question?" So I'm not going to cover it in this Article . If you're in that situation, make sure to look out for that Article. 

Now that you've explained why you have a work gap and for how long, let's look at how to share the information about what you've done during your gap period. You want to tell the interviewer that you've done something constructive. 

That you've kept up with the industry. That you've maintained your skills, and perhaps even learn new ones. If you spent your time lying on the couch binge watching Netflix, or spend your days not doing anything constructive. 

Then that might be cause for concern. But even if you have been doing that, chances are that you have done something productive in between the binge watching and the aimless wonder. 

So take some time and really think about what you've done with your time away from work and make sure that your answer is showing the interviewer that you have done something constructive. 

If you haven't done anything constructive,now is the best time to start so that you're able to talk about it in your next interview. So let's look at some examples again on how to incorporate what you've done into the answer. 

  • If you've been traveling you could say... It's been a great experience to seeso much of Asia and I've learned a great deal about the different cultures and about interacting with people from different walks of life in general, and I can't wait to get back to work to start integrating everything I've learned.

  •  If you've been caring for a relative, then you could say... Caring for my sick relative has naturally taken up most of my free time but whenever I got a chance, I've made sure to keep up to date with my profession and with the industry by reading books and articles daily and I've also taken a couple of online classes. Unfortunately, my relative passed away so it's been a bit tough for a while. But now I'm ready and eager to start working again. 

  • If you've been relocating you could say... It's taken a bit of time to settle in here, making sure that we're all set up with anything and everything from the bank, health care, insurance, etc. but all of that is taken care of now and I'm fully focused and ready to start working again. 

  • If you've taken a career break then you might say... I wanted to have just a period where I didn't have to think about work. There were a number of trainings that I wanted to attend but I never had a chance to do while I was working, so I've really enjoyed having the time to take all the classes and the trainings I've wanted to take for so long. I must admit that it was such a great decision for me to have this time away from work, because it gave me time to really think about what I wanted to do next in my career. And now that I have this clarity, I am ready and eager to start working again.

  •  If you've been made redundant, you could say... I've been having conversations with several companies but so far I haven't found the right position for me. 

 Let's wrap up our answer by steering the conversation towards their position and your ability to do the job they're hiring for. You want to make sure that you answer with high energy and interest, so that you erase any doubts they may have whether you are ready to get back to work. 

For example, if the role you're interviewing for is a Business Analyst, your answer could sound something like... I've worked as a Business Analyst my entire career and I really enjoy doing it because it allows me to combine my analytical skill and my love for research with my passion for helping businesses make more money. 

Your position includes all three of these elements, and what's particularly interesting is both that it's an analyst role for one of your newest divisions,and also your plan expansion into Asia. And the possibility to be part of that from the start. 

In my previous company, we also expanded internationally and I've been looking for the right opportunity to come along where I can apply everything that I've learned from that expansion and help another organization do the same thing. The prospect of doing that is super exciting to me. 

As you can see in the example, the focus is on the skills and the capabilities that you have from before your time away from work.And you're showing them your excitement and eagerness to work. And that you're a strong candidate. 

If you've gained additional skills during your gap period, make sure to mention that too. And that's how you explain the gap in your resume. I hope this was useful for you and that you no longer feel unclear with answering this question. And before you go, I want to leave you with one final advice which is really important so please read carefully.

 Having a gap in your career, whether you've chosen it yourself or it's involuntary, is not something to be ashamed of. So don't be apologetic about it. You're Perfectly within your right to take a break or having a gap in your career. It Doesn't make you any less qualified or capable of doing the job. 

If a company doesn't want to interview you because of your gap period, it is their loss not yours. And you know what. If a company says that they're not interested or that they're ghosting you by not responding because of the gap, I'm pretty sure It's the kind of company you don't want to work for anyway.

Because if they have this policy when hiring, they probably have similar old-fashioned and inflexible policies related to anything involving their employees. And you don't want to work for a company like that. 

Not when there are great companies out there with great policies, that understand that in today's work environment,career gaps are a common thing and it can actually be beneficial because the candidate is ready and eager to work. 

So be proud of your entire work history, gaps and all. Present your skills with an honest, confident, and to the point answer. And be ready to answer any follow-up questions you may get with just as much honesty and confidence. And show them what a strong candidate you are. 

Thank You….!!!

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