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How To Explain Your Employment Gap

Recruiters and career advisors are always urging job seekers to avoid any gaps in employment. When looking through CV’s they prefer to see an obvious timeline of progression rather than lots of unexplained gaps. Whether you planned your gap or it came as a surprise, we have some tips to help you positively explain this to your interviewer.

Prepare:

It’s important that you prepare a well-thought-out answer in order to respond to the interviewer with an honest explanation.  Avoid lying about why you have a gap, even if they believe you – you may trip up further down the line. It’s important to be completely honest during interviews, there’s no use starting a career in a web of lies!

Make sure you are prepared to talk about your gap in employment, it’s more than likely that they will bring it up. Increase your chances of getting the job by responding to their question with a clearly thought-out answer.

Why it happened:

You may have left your job for an understandable reason and you don’t have to tell them every single detail about why you left but it’s important to help them understand why. As long as you provide them with a brief explanation, they won’t feel as though you are lying and it will be easier for them to understand.

The reason why they will be asking is to make sure you won’t be a risk to the company you are applying for. They may need someone who they can rely on for the next 12 months and if you fail to explain the reasoning for your gap they may avoid hiring you. Whether you went away or you lost your job, explain this to them confidently.

What you did:

That gap in employment may have been out of your control and you tried your best to avoid it at all costs. Just because there is a gap, it doesn’t have to be negative.

Try to make matters better during your gap, by filling your time completing projects or online workshops that will boost your CV. Although you can’t fill this gap with employment, it’s better to show that you were proactive and spent your time bettering yourself for your next role.

Filling the gap with self-taught skills or with workshops is really appealing to an employer as it shows you still stayed engaged even when you were out of work. So, if you went away, did you blog whilst you were away? Whilst you were off, did you contribute to any charity work? Any freelance projects? If so, mention these, the gap might not be as big as you thought!

 What you learnt:

A fantastic way of answering this question is to explain what positive outcomes this gap brought to you. Perhaps, you learnt some valuable life skills whilst you were off or it enabled you to set yourself some clear career goals that triggered a career change.

Although some people think of a gap as a negative, rescue it by focusing on the positives that came from it. The interviewer will be impressed by what you have learnt and how you can apply this to the role you are applying for. Your positive attitude will sway the interviewer!

Keep your answers career-related and discuss your ambitions for the next year or so, this shows the determination you have for the role and your plans to settle – making you less of a risk!

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