If you have a gap on your resume, be honest about it and don’t try to hide it. Maybe you were laid off during the pandemic—you definitely weren’t alone—or took time off for personal reasons, like caring for a new baby or a sick family member. Whatever the reason for it, a gap on your resume could send up a red flag to a potential employer. They might perceive it as a reflection on your work ethic. That’s why it’s important to explain those gaps in a way that will allay their fears.
Don’t Try to Hide Employment Gaps
Honesty is the best policy, especially if you want to be hired. Don’t omit the dates of your employment or do anything to cover up the gap. Your employer will probably discover it when they do a background or reference check. But if your employment gap was a long time ago and you can show steady employment since, you may not need to list it on your resume at all. It may no longer be relevant.
Be Prepared to Explain Employment Gaps
An employer sees an employment gap as bad sign. To them, it means you didn’t want to work, or it might mean you were not responsible to find and hold down a job. That’s why it’s important to explain why you were unemployed for a period of time. Don’t mention it in your cover letter—that will only draw attention to it. But you will need to briefly talk about it in the interview.
Find the Value in Your Time Off from Work
In the interview, you can turn the negative connotation of an employment gap into a positive by showing the value of your unemployment. Did you volunteer during that time? Did you learn new skills or attend classes? Did you realize what type of job you really wanted? Show how you used the time off to grow and develop as a professional.
Fill the Employment Gap on Your Resume
Once an employer knows you have a job gap, they want to know why. Once they know why, they want to know if it will happen again. Give them reasons to believe you’re ready to close the gap. For example, if you had a baby, explain that you now have childcare or that your baby is grown and in school. If you were laid off, explain the circumstances of your job loss as simply as possible without saying anything negative about your employer. The message you want to send is that you’re ready and eager to work and to commit to a new employer.
Practice Before You Go to the Job Interview
One way to convince a potential employer that you’ll make a good employee is to walk into your interview with confidence. The way to do that is to know what to say to any questions they ask. Practice your interview skills with a friend or career advisor during a mock interview. Address that employment gap in your mock interview and you’ll be ready for the real thing.
If you have a gap on your resume and are ready to fill it with career training, contact Porter and Chester Institute today. We offer a variety of programs in Connecticut and Massachusetts that could give you the skills for a new career. And we’ll also teach you how to build a professional portfolio that could help you get hired. Fill out the form to request more information now.