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Top Ways to Explain Work Gap in an Interview

By Tanuja A Akkannavar

Employment gaps are defined as periods of time when job seekers appear to be unemployed or away from the workplace. Certain resume layouts draw attention to these gaps in employment more than others. Employment gaps may be planned such as while returning to college, they can sometimes be inadvertent, such as being unemployed or in between jobs. Recruiters and potential employers are generally wary of job seekers with unexplained work gaps on their resumes.

When utilizing the chronological resume format, which necessitates listing job history in reverse chronological order, these gaps in employment history are highlighted. When there are large gaps in employment, the applicant may consider using a functional resume format that emphasizes abilities and achievements. The combo resume format can be employed effectively if the gap is relatively brief in duration.

There are a few simple rules to follow when it comes to filling up gaps in your career history:

1. Be Prepared to Discuss It –
If you have a gap on your Resume, it won't necessarily keep you from progressing through the interview process. Potential employers, on the other hand, will expect an explanation, take the time to plan ahead of time how you'll bridge the gap in a way that exudes confidence and optimism.

2. Fill the Gap –
While you don't need to go into great depth about what caused your job gap, you should outline how you used that time. Explain any industry-related reading you did, how you kept in touch with colleagues, or what you did to prepare for your re-entry. Include any freelance employment, volunteer or community service roles you have held, workshops or events you have attended, or any other method you have furthered your professional skills. Even if you have not been technically employed, the idea is to demonstrate that you've been involved.

3. Use a Resume Style that Conceals the Gap
Next, you can use a resume style or structure like the functional resume format to make employment gaps appear less evident. A functional resume format emphasizes your abilities and accomplishments rather than your work history. To help make the positive experiences you have the primary focus of your resume, incorporate sections such as a career summary statement and important accomplishments on your resume. Then, near the end of your CV, insert your employment section and to reduce the impact of small employment gaps, combine the functional resume approach with step three.

4. Highlight New Skills –
Include any volunteer activity, classes, certifications, or even conferences you attended during your time off from work, I f none of those possibilities apply, you've most likely acquired a new soft skill. Communication, flexibility, problem solving, and critical observation are examples of general soft skills and always remember to show rather than explain. Give specific instances and scenarios that demonstrate how you improved your communication skills or were more comfortable reacting to unexpected situations. It's admirable to be able to demonstrate that you've matured throughout your time away from work, so don't forget to mention it.

5. Explain Why Now is the Right Time –
Explain why you have decided to re-enter the employment now rather than a year from now if you left your job without a clear deadline. Again, be concise and don't feel obligated to justify your choice. Simply inform the hiring manager that you've completed the tasks you needed to do during your time off and are now ready to return to work.

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