If there is one thing that can put a dent in your otherwise appealing resume, it is a career gap.
A career gap is when one is unemployed for a period of time. There are many reasons why one has to take a gap in his/her career. It could be due to illness or family duties. The reasons may be rational but a gap, especially a long one at that, still is hard to explain on your resume or to an interviewer.
Tips: Handle career gaps effectively.
1. Honesty is the best policy
If you don’t have the full story when you are explaining your reason for your career gap, recruiters will think you are sketchy. This is why honesty is the best policy. The truth will flow out naturally. However, keep it brief and summarize it in just a few sentences. Mention what you were doing during the gap.
2. Preparation is key
Recruiters will definitely want to know why there is a career gap in your resume. So, it’s best that you prepare your answer beforehand. Take help from your friends or family members and ask them to play the role of the interviewer. This will boost your confidence. Confidence and positivity are important when explaining your career gap.
3. Filling the gap
Utilize the career gap time to learn or upskilling yourself. By telling the interviewer what you’ve been up to during your gap, you show yourself as someone who is always eager to learn, which is one quality every organization looks for in a candidate. So, rather than mentioning the ‘Why’, talk about how and what you benefited from your time off. Talk about what you’ve read or new skills you might have acquired. Also, talk about any volunteer work you may have done or relevant events you may have attended. This will tell them that even though you were not working, you kept yourself engaged and busy.
4. Keep it short
When you are explaining the reason for your career gap, do not over share. Stick to the point that matters and talk more about your experiences in the position you are applying for and what you’ve been doing. You could end the conversation by asking the interviewer some questions as soon as you are done with your answer.
5. Leave if you want to
There are many reasons why one has to take or undergo a career gap. Some reasons can be rather personal. If you are uncomfortable answering the question, you could tell the interviewer that you don’t want to elaborate your reasons but you’d rather talk about your experiences and skill sets which are more relevant for the job vacancy.
If the interviewer keeps asking you to explain and you start feeling uncomfortable, it’s perfectly fine to end the interview. If you are already not comfortable with the environment, it just might not be the right company for you.
The above mentioned pointers should definitely help you in filling your career gap effectively to an interviewer.