Despite what many job seekers believe, a gap in your resume won’t automatically knock you out of consideration for an opening. There are many valid reasons for a resume gap, which may include taking time off to travel, going back to school, caring for your family or health concerns, among others.
Regardless of your reasons, what matters is how you present your gap to a recruiter or hiring manager. We take a quick look at five strategies you can follow to do just that.
You Were Laid Off
It’s natural to feel uncomfortable when talking about being laid off. But if anything, the interviewer will sympathize with what happened, especially if it took place during the recession. Whatever you do, never badmouth your previous boss or company. Always focus on the positive aspects of the experience, and what you learned from your time there.
If you’re worried your history of taking time off to travel will make you look unprofessional and uncommitted, the key is to focus on what you learned during your travels and how the entire experience contributed to your personal growth and development. So, instead of talking about what a blast your excursion to Machu Picchu was, talk about your experience with the locals and how your travels taught you to be independent and open-minded.
You Went Back to School
It’s unlikely any recruiter will hold the decision to take time off to go back to school against you. Still, don’t let your decision make you look like someone who’s unsure about your direction in life. Likewise, don’t say anything along the lines of “I’m just more comfortable in school than an office.”
Put a positive spin on this career move and you should be fine.
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You Took a Break for Health Reasons
Don’t feel pressured to go into detail about your health situation and why it required you to take time off. Prepare a brief explanation you are comfortable sharing and proceed to tell the interviewer you’re now healthy and ready to go back to work and contribute to the company.
You Had to Take Care of Family
Helping to raise a baby or care for a sick member of the family is a tough job that demands your attention. No interviewer in their right mind will hold it against you. If you had time to keep your skills sharp and knowledge of the industry up to date, be sure to mention this in the interview.
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