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How to Explain Employment Gap in Job Interview

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Interviews are nerve-racking enough and to add having to explain your gap in employment is a whole other level of stress. Let’s be honest, whether a few months or a few years, the majority of us have had gaps in our employment. It is not a very attractive detail to add to your resume. Interviewers are going to have questions and the answer/explanation we provide need to be one hell of a convincing one. 


Well, having an employment gap or gaps in your resume just looks rather unprofessional, don’t you think? No, matter the reason (and there can be tons of reasons), having to explain it in an interview kind of gives you the shakes. Sometimes, because of our nerves, we provide answers that eventually cost us the job. So, how exactly does one explain a gap in employment effectively? 

We’ve got the answer. In this blog, we will share a few tips and examples on how you can successfully explain your employment gap. 

What is an Employment Gap?

The specific period that a professional did not work due to a personal or professional reason is an employment gap. It can be as short as 2 months of gap or as long as 15 years. Our personal and professional lives intertwine and sometimes, the personal side needs more of our attention. Personal reasons may include illness, taking care of your child, family emergency, pursuing higher studies and so on, while professional reasons may include getting fired or quitting a job due to cultural misfits. 

When explaining your gap in employment, remember these:

Be honest. They are going to find the truth out eventually because they WILL be calling your old employers or managers. So, honesty, as they say, honesty is the best policy here. 

Stick to the point and do not overshare. You will only dig a deeper grave for yourself if you provide too much, and not entirely factual, information. 

Mention what you have learned or developed during your hiatus. 

In case of being fired, mention how it was a learning moment and an opportunity of growth for you and that it would not be repeated. 

Never bad-mouth your ex-employer or previous company. It only makes you look unprofessional, petty and a bad fruit to have in a company. 

Here are some examples for explaining your gap in employment for different scenarios: 

Personal reasons:

“As my siblings are all working abroad, I had to take care of my father who met with an accident. Now that he is back on his feet, so am I. I am eager to be back in the corporate world, hopefully with this firm.” 

“I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl four years back and I wanted to be there for her formative years, which I did. And now that she is a pre-schooler, it is the perfect time for me to get back to work.”

“I got my dream job right after I received my bachelor’s degree. I took the job knowing that at some point I would want to earn my Master’s degree as well, which as you can see, I did last month. So, now that I have accomplished my short term goal, I would like to focus on my long-term goal, which is my career.”

“I had to take some time off because of medical issues. The treatment took longer than initially expected, which was why I had to quit my previous job. Now that I have fully recovered, I am more than ready to get back to work.”

Professional reasons:

“My manager and I did not see eye-to-eye on some things. I did try my best to meet his expectations but to no avail. I have learned a lot since then. I have worked on upskilling myself these past few months and I do believe that I have grown as a professional and a person. I am more than ready to bring my skills and knowledge for the betterment of your fine establishment.”

“On account of cost-cutting decisions made by the management, my position was removed. Although I do understand their reason, I too have to think of my career growth. It took me some time to find another job because I am looking for a company that provides better job security, which I am told, yours does. I have a lot to bring to the table given my experience and skills. So, I am willing to start straight away.”

Remember to keep it short and to only provide the necessary information. 

Good luck! 

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Tags: Last modified: April 7, 2021