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Can you explain this gap in your employment history?

If there’s a gap in your resume, be ready to explain it. Even beginning interviewers ask this question when they see a period of missing work time. The important things are to be honest, be ready, and be able to detail activities. “I decided I liked sitting around watching television” isn’t a good answer. Neither is “That’s how I roll, I work a few years, take a few years off, work a few more, just enough to pay the bills.”

Some real life situations may not seem appropriate for an answer here, but a little spin can make them a positive.

Just Didn’t Work:
You were burned out from work, so took a few years off, but you talked to a neighbor about starting a franchise. You could say “I consulted on a few projects while looking for the perfect full time position.”

Took Time for a Baby
“My wife and I decided to start our family. So after her maternity leave ended, I stayed home for a few years with the kids. But during evening I took classes and worked part time, mostly on weekends, to keep my professional skills sharp.

No matter what the reason, as long as there’s an explanation you’re OK on this question. Sometimes people lose jobs and take some time to find new ones. Sometimes people start families. If an honest answer with a good explanation disqualifies you from the job, you probably didn’t want to work there in the first place.

Keep in mind that many job gaps involve heavy emotional baggage, such as being fired from a job. Don’t bring that baggage up in the answer. Explain the gap with as little detail as possible, highlighting positive aspects of the situation.

“My boss was a real jerk, so he fired me. I spent some time on a lawsuit, which I won.”

Any employer will think twice about hiring someone in that situation. But it can be expressed without the emotion.

Fired – No Emotional Baggage:
“It came as a shock when I lost my job, but there was a decent severance package. I used the time to enhance my education.”

Making up wild stories won’t help, as this job seeker discovered. “One day I was going home from work, the next thing I knew 3 years of my life were missing. I swear they implanted something when they abducted me.”


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