How to Explain Your Employment Gap in an Interview

In the midst of a job hunt, you find yourself sitting at your desk about to apply for a position and then there it is, staring you right in the face – a glaring employment gap on your resume. As soon as you click the submit button on the application, you anticipate being asked about it and begin preparing your answer. But how do you best explain a lay-off, time between jobs, or a family medical leave to a potential employer?

I  tracked down a few of our McKinley team members who conduct interviews with consultants on a daily basis and I asked them – what advice do you have for candidates who need help explaining an employment gap?

  • Be Honest: The cliché “honesty is the best policy” applies to this situation.  Many interviewers will be able to sense if you are covering something up, so be honest about your situation without going into great detail, unless it is absolutely necessary. 
  • Be Productive: It is important to show potential employers that you have made good use of your time while being away from the workforce. During your interview, talk about how you took a class, obtained a certification, attended webinars, or taught yourself how to use a new software program.  
  • Be Positive:  Remember, you are not the first person who has had to explain a hole in their resume and you certainly won’t be the last.  Don’t play the blame game, or even worse, bash your old company or boss.  You set the tone for how your window of unemployment will be perceived, so spin it positively and show the employer that you are ready to move forward.

Since the gap in your resume is not going away, take time to prepare and you will likely be in a better position to land the job.

by McKinley Marketing Partners