A gap on a resume can create haunting fears in job applicants. They worry that it will make them look unprofessional or that they don’t take their careers seriously. Unfortunately, gaps happen, and interviewers will expect you to talk about them.
So, how do you handle that discussion in a reasonable way that won’t torpedo your chances?
Let’s get this out of the way right at the beginning. Do not lie to your interviewer for any reason. Any lies about employment or experience will get exposed by a decent background check or talking with references. Lying about your personal life? Social media will out you. Whatever the reason or circumstances around the gap, provide a short, honest answer. If at all possible, discuss whatever you were doing in terms of how it better prepared you for the new position.
The unemployment rate in the United States was between 8% and 10% until around 2013. Many people have and will have gaps in their resumes for the foreseeable future. Rational hiring managers will recognize this fact and understand it. Asking about the gap helps reassure them that you didn’t put a coworker in the hospital or embezzle funds from your old employer. Things they’d never want to risk at their own company. Assuming your answers make sense, you should be fine.
Was It a Gap?
Many people fill in the time between full-time paying positions with a volunteer, freelance, part-time, or consulting work. Yet, they leave this information off their resume. It’s often so short-term or merely irrelevant to the position you’re applying for that it’s wasted space on the resume. However, it’s ideal for discussion during the interview. It proves that you didn’t just languish in unemployment that whole time. If you can find a way to connect that experience with the position, that’s even better.
Gaps in your resume can send you into a worry spiral about what it’ll make the hiring manager think of you. No matter what else happens in the interview, never lie. Understand that you’re not the only person with a gap in your resume. Downplay the gap by talking about any volunteering, freelancing, or jobs you did during the gap. The goal is ultimately to reassure your interviewer that you won’t simply bail on them at the first opportunity.
Are you worried that gaps in your employment history might stand in your way of getting a job? Connect with GPS, and let us help you find employers who understand that gaps don’t always mean bad hires.