Employers put the pressure on resume gaps during the interview. They want to make sure that it isn’t an indicator of a bigger problem. However, having a gap on your resume isn’t necessarily a deal breaker! Here’s how to address it gracefully in an interview and even use it to your advantage in landing your next position.
Give an extremely brief and high-level reason
There are hundreds of different reasons people have gaps in their resumes ranging from getting laid off, being fired, going back to school, starting a family, medical issues, and so on and so forth. Your reason needs to be addressed, but not lingered upon. Give a brief, high-level reason that is as positive as possible. For example, “After leaving my last position, I took some time off to focus on personal development.”
Explain how it has contributed to your career
Just because you weren’t working an official job during a certain time, doesn’t mean it wasn’t productive for your career. Highlight lessons you learned, volunteer opportunities you took advantage of, or any classes/education you indulged in during that gap. Hint: if you’re not doing these types of things during a career gap, you’re missing a huge opportunity! For example, “I’ve always wanted to expand my knowledge of computer programming, so I spent that time taking a few online courses.”
Connect it back to the position you’re interviewing for
The most important thing to do when you’re addressing this question is to bring it back to the current position. Every answer you give during an interview should always circle back to the task at hand: landing this job. For example, “The skills and experiences I gained during that time off have helped me realize that I wanted my next position to be at a team-oriented company that places value on skill development and growth.”
See? A gap in your resume isn’t necessarily a bad thing; you just have to frame it correctly!