Employers and the unemployed all understand that in this market, sometimes finding a job doesn’t happen easily and can take some time. You may try your best, but maybe the job doesn’t pay enough for you to support your family or the company hired someone else instead of you. The time between jobs can look and feel like a giant black hole in your resume, but there are ways to explain a work history gap both on a resume and in an interview.
No matter how long the gap is or why it happened, you need to be ready to explain it. Employers want to know why there is a period of time between your last job and the one you want, and you need to have a clear reason. Maybe you were laid off during a bad financial time, maybe you had to quit to help with a sick family member or to raise a child, maybe you had a chance to travel and have adventures…whatever the reason for the gap is, don’t try to hide it–even if it’s for a negative reason, such as getting fired. Your future employer will see that you’re not trying to hide it.
Along with that, be positive. Even if the reason for a work history gap is that you left the company because you didn’t like your employer, say something like, “I wanted to see where else I could use my skills.” Be careful if you have a gap due to something such as more than one job loss—you do not want to appear to be an unsteady worker. Don’t lie about it–if an employer checks on you and finds out you lied, the chance of you getting the job is very low. Instead, focus on what you did during your time away from a job. Did you volunteer? Did you learn a new skill you could use at the job? Did you travel? Did you help a sick family member? Did you work at smaller jobs that helped you use your talents? An employer wants to hear that you used your time between jobs to do something besides look for a new job.
Little things you can do on your resume include making it so your time is in years: 2008-2011 instead of December 2008 – June 2011. If you lost your job because of the economy, make sure you have good references from your last employer. Talk about what you did at your last job that made you a great employee and how you can work well at this job.
A gap in a resume doesn’t have to look bad if you know how to explain the gap well. Use your time in between jobs well and show an employer that time away from work was not useless time. For more strategies and interview tips, reach out to our experienced recruiters at Creative Staffing today!