How to Explain a Gap on Your Resume to a Hiring Manager

Maura Mann, Vice President
Follow: Linkedin

Making a better work environment

Is the gap in your resume causing you to panic that you won’t get a good career? If so, don’t! There are many employees just like you who have taken time off during their jobs who have valid reasons such as caring for a sick family member, getting a degree, or raising a family. Whatever your reason is for the break, it will show up on your resume, and you will get asked about it, so being able to explain it well will benefit you while you are in the job search.

Implement these tips to discuss your employment gaps with a hiring manager.

Give Reasons for the Gap

Being able to give reasons and explaining why you have a gap in your resume will help your potential future employer understand your background better. Even if you took time off to pursue a passion or travel the world, it’s still extremely beneficial to be able to discuss this while interviewing. However, if you are worried because your gap wasn’t due to a professional development opportunity, don’t be! Your hiring manager will feel a lot better and more comfortable knowing why you took a break, even if it was to pursue a passion.

Hey, it might even be an excellent conversation starter as well! Maybe they have the same passion!

Focus on Your New Skills

An excellent way to add a positive spin on your gap is to talk about the different skills you gained during that time. Perhaps you took on volunteer work, and it strengthened your communication skills. Or, you took a few classes and learned a new software. Whatever it is providing concrete examples of how you enhanced your current capabilities such as adaptability, problem-solving, and critical thinking is a great thing to emphasize to the interviewer.

If you can show the skills and experience you gained from your time off and how it could potentially benefit a future employer, it will make your background much more attractive.

Share Why You Are Returning to Work

Something you may come across is the question, “Why are you returning to work?” This is an excellent opportunity to explain your reasoning and show that you’re dedicated and serious about getting back to work. You can also emphasize how you’re looking for more challenges and an opportunity to push yourself further in your career. Showing confidence as you explain this will let the interviewer know you’re serious about this next step.

Be Honest

The best thing to do is always be honest and tell the truth about the gap in your work history. A huge mistake you can do is be dishonest about your background because employers can verify your work history and prevent you from keeping or getting a job. If the reason for your gap is you were laid off, explain that, and provide potential reasoning. For example, maybe the company had budget cuts or went through restructuring. By also maintaining a positive outlook and emphasizing you enjoyed your company and learned many skills, you can show your potential employer that you left on good terms.

If perhaps you quit your job before lining up another one, discuss what you gained and achieved and what you were looking for in your next role. Explain why the current position you’re interviewing for is in line with what you’re targeting and why you felt encouraged to apply. What matters is the value you bring to the organization and that you talk about previous employers in a positive light.

Get Advice from a Recruiter

Another great approach is to work with a recruiter from The Nagler Group and have them assist you in the job search / interviewing process. They can match you with employers, provide resume advice, coach you for interviews, and offer other services to increase your career success. See which roles you want to apply for today!