You opted out of your consecutive university studies, or you were laid off by your company; no matter what your reasons were, the most formidable question that candidates face during interviews is,
“why the gap?”
There can be surplus of unavoidable situations that can force a person to gap employment or academic slots. This shouldn’t intimidate you in any aspect unless you sat idle the whole time or were involved in any disgraceful act against your country or its people.
With tactful address, you can consequently evade the humiliation of polarizing your stand in the interview.
A gap in employment or academic studies can be a spike in your career profile. Learn to address the issue adeptly and wisely. You will merely notice any downhill impression on your part. Here are few essential tips to maneuver you through a smooth interview.
How to Explain Your Gap in Employment?
1. Be positive and confident while explaining your gap:
It’s foremost important that you keep your demeanor upright confident and positive while explaining the glitch in your curriculum vitae. You certainly have gap in your career, but is it degrading for you? Are you ashamed of it? Have you shamed your country? Of course not! You must be thinking it is wrong in taking a gap. You can absolutely take a gap. There is no embarrassment in it. So, why be nervous and intimidated? Be honest, and give your reply with a hint of optimism.
2. State clearly and honestly the reasons why you took the gap:
You might be laid off by a company. The cause might be inevitable. And once out of job, it is quite tough to soon regain a position in another company. With recession, it is very likely that small-scale industries would get the blow of complete layoff. You are not to be blamed, but rather you were among the ones who endured the shut down. State clearly why you were taken out of your former job.
3. Sensible reasons as education for the gap:
Nothing can be more sensible than an educational takeout from a job. Impending job pressure on your education can potentially harm it. This leaves you with no option. You can confidently state the purpose of gap as education to your interviewers. You can even testify it through proof of the education during that period.
4. A grave family situation:
A family situation cannot be dodged no matter what. A sick loved one with chronic and critical health issue cannot be evaded. For your utmost satisfaction, you might need to render intensive care to them. This demands maximum of your time, care and love. You can explain it to the interviewers. They will understand it, there’s no doubt in it.
5. Stress on some job or activity you undertook during gap:
A gap doesn’t mean that it was space and vacuum for your life. You could have possibly undertaken a small-scale job, contracts or consulting activity. Mention these intricate details to your recruiters. Be it a small-scale job contract or few assignments; do not keep any skeletons in your closet, if precisely said.
A freelance job undertaken:
Be it work from home, software designing or a programming job, you were engaged while in gap. They just need to know that you didn’t sit idle while you were off from a regular degree or job.
A degree or certificate course undertaken:
If you took a certificate course of C++, java or C during your gap year. Mention it clearly. Testify with the help of certificates. This will not only help to eliminate any doubts but will also foster a stronger set of skills on your part.
Linked to any non-profit organization for social service:
It can also be possible that your benevolent bent of mind would have taken you on the path of good-heart service to the society. Be proud and explain it straight to the interviewers.
Temporary contractual jobs:
You might have been involved in short term contracts. And around the year, you could have fulfilled enough contracts to proudly say that you never sat idle.
A start-up business could have kept you busy during the layoff. You might possibly explain that you had plenty of time after the layoff to commence on entrepreneurship. A home-run business can keep you immensely busy. Testify with government-allowed business records.
6. Raise a newborn:
In the case of a new mother, it can be pretty strenuous to work. Few months of leave or layoff will greatly help to regain from your debility, just postnatal of your baby. You can start again with a fresh mind and revived skills. Postnatal care is a common gap attributed with new mothers. Before starting for a big-scale job, start working for communities, organizations and private institutions.
7. Explored and traveled:
An A-class employee from a known Boston-based company took layoff, and started exploring and traveling around the country to search for a job in the field of humanities and arts. He dedicated himself to undertake a full course of fine arts from an arts and culture university. He even taught English Literature to its students. After a year of gap, he had plenty of records to show before he joined another IT company in San Francisco.
8. If left jobless the whole gap:
It might be possible that your search for a suitable job could have left you jobless. All you have to do is be honest, positive and avoid being too desperate to put hands on the interviewed job. Be honest, and explain it to the recruiters that given the recession, it was tough to find a job that would suit my set of skills.
9. Explain that you wanted to be committed in a long-term relationship with a company:
You can mention that you are not worried of the paycheck coming out of a job, but rather after your layoff you were searching for a suitable job for a long-term association. It’s not always the money that attracts you into a job. A job like this as this one always draws you in.
10. Your work was not as per your satisfaction:
May be your work in a former company was not up your expectation. You couldn’t fully commit to your job, and maybe that’s why you left your former company. You could explain that now you are past that phase and ready to start fresh with a new bent of enthusiasm and commitment.
Resume evaluation is the first appraisal your recruiters conduct before calling you for interview. It is wise to tactfully handle your education gap in resume. Refrain from concealing your gaps. It will pop out with a streak of embarrassment which can cost your hiring.
6 Tips To Mention Gaps in Resume:
1. Read out for resume to find glitch of gaps:
You might not be aware of a possible gap in education or employment. Point that gap out. In a separate heading for work experience, you can add by writing about courses taken during the period. Consider this instance:
A prospecting PhD student took a year off after her master’s program to prepare and appear for standardized tests such as, GRE, TOEFL, etc. She took course to compete for her scores. In her CV to the PhD admissions committee of a particular university, she detailed her gaps with courses of standardized tests delineating with dates of course and tests.
2. Mention in the cover letter:
You can add up few lines explaining your gap. You can do this in cases where you cannot add your gap experience in resume such as caring for a loved one, postnatal care, etc.
3. Mention years not months:
There is no big deal in opting for gaps in employment, but remember to mention it wisely. It helps to conceal exact time thus helping to portray a null-like gap to readers. For example:
- Web Designer (2011-12)
- System Analyst (2013-14)
Thus, by avoiding months you are able to hide the subtle gaps in your career history.
4. Omit short gaps:
It is not required to account for a 2 month gap you took for travel or caring for a loved one. Exclude time period less than 6 months in your resume. The gap can only be a spike to your career if it is evidently more than 6-7 months.
5. Add details of small time jobs you took during gap under a different title:
You can add a separate tile for unpaid volunteering jobs under the tile “Unpaid Work History”. If the jobs were paid then classify them under the title “Professional work” or “employment”.
6. Describe about newly acquired skills during your gap period:
If you are concerned about your employment gap, you can explain how and what you learnt from it. Mention the new skills that you’ve acquired during the jobs, courses, contracts you took during the time period. Turn it into your advantage rather than making it your embarrassment. There is no guilt in taking gap.
Be honest, and answer straight about the work or time you spent in gap. Rather than becoming self-defensive, be liberal about it and digress the talk over your gap to the skills you acquired while you undertook jobs in your gap.
Stress on how the skills have helped you to become what you are now. You add some of the newly found IT skills, or benevolence imputed to good-heart volunteering, or social service.
An employment gap is not a sin you committed. It is most natural in a professional career. Be confident, and learn how to handle it. Prepare enough before your D-day and make your interviewers believe in your worth and spirit.