Polishing the Professional

How to Handle Gaps in Employment

Gaps in work history can cause an employer to become skeptical about hiring you. They may find it concerning that you had long periods of absence from normal adult activities and question whether you are a serious candidate for their company.

Employers may be concerned that you are hiding something unfavorable. They may assume that your release from your last position was not voluntary and that you were unable to find work due to incompetency. 

You are human, and life has various situations that occur that make gaps in employment something that should be normal:
– raising a family
– taking care of an ill loved one
– recovering from an injury or illness
– running your own business
– traveling
– continuing education

It is up to you to immediately address the employers’ concerns to increase your chances of being considered for the position. There are two main ways to do this:

Address it on Paper – In a cover letter and resume.

If you did not have paid employment during a specific time, try to think of any unpaid work you did. Add volunteer work and other non-paid work you may have done as an entry under your work experience.

For example: If you assisted with managing the offering or held responsible for teaching a class at your church, list your duties and relate them to the position.

You can explain your employment gap in a cover letter you send along with the resume to detail any gaps you cannot neatly address in your resume.

Address it Verbally- During the interview

When you land an interview, expect the employer to ask you about your employment gap(s). If they requested an interview, they are interested in you but will want to confirm you are not hiding any relevant information. Explain your work gap clearly and briefly. Then reassure them that that period of your life is no longer affecting your availability to dedicate your time to the position and bring attention back to why you are excited about the job and how it fits your current and future goals.

For example: If your work gap was due to raising a family, tell them and let them know that you now have reliable care for your family, allowing you to focus on your career.

Staying Up to Date with Skills

The employer may be concerned about whether you stayed up to date with the skills needed for the open position during your work gap(s). Be sure to stay involved with online courses, many of which are free, to keep your skills up to date. You can list the classes you’ve taken to improve your chances to qualify for the position despite your work gap.

For more tips and assistance with managing employment gaps, sign up with Polishing the Professional. Call (877) POLISH U OR (877) 765-4748 today to learn more. 

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