How to explain a Gap in your Resume
One of the most difficult questions to address in an interview is “Why is there a gap in your resume?” While, the tone of the question might make it seem like the question just might be the end of the world, or at least the end of the interview, it really isn’t the case.
Here are some tips on how to explain a gap in your resume that will hopefully help you address this issue, and that too in a manner that does not result in your losing the job.
Address the reason
There could be a number of reasons behind that gap on your reason. It could be that perhaps you were unemployed, which could have happened because you either got fired or you may have possibly lost you job due downsizing. Or alternatively, it could be that you were still working but do know what to include it as part of your resume. Perhaps it isn’t relevant to you the position you are applying for, or it could be because it just isn’t that glamorous. Whatever the reason really is, you need to accept it. If you accept it and make your peace with it, only then will you be able to make the interviewer realize that it is not that bad a deal, as convention makes it out to be.
Practice talking about it
Once you have made your peace with it, whatever the reason was, then learn to be honest about it. If you talk about it constantly, you will get used to taking about it. This is important because your ease with the topic in hand will project into your tone of voice, hence subconsciously projecting to the interviewer, that it is not really that big a deal. Of course, if it is something minor just as you lost your job due to downsizing, then it really isn’t that big a deal anyway. Most people in the industry accept this as a valid reason and may even sympathize with you, after all it isn’t really your fault; it is the economy’s.
Be honest (as much as possible)
When asked about it in an interview, be honest. Of course if it is something really bad like you were fired from the job due to some fault of yours, then it is perhaps not the best idea to be completely honest. However, do try to be as honest as possible without admitting that it was your fault, you can always say that it was due to ‘irreconcilable differences’ or ‘differences in creative vision’ or some other industry jargon that may sound important. Also, try to avoid placing blame on anyone, even if your manager was horrible and out to get you, or if your company was managed by idiots. The interviewer is part of the management and will be more likely to side with them rather than with you. Hence, you should avoid the risk of alienating the interviewer.
Spin it to your advantage
Now, in addition to being honest, you would want to try to turn this to your advantage. How? You ask. Well its simple, talk about what you were doing during the gap time. Perhaps you went back to school, or took an online course. Perhaps you were working at a job that is not relevant to the current position. Or you were sitting at home at waiting for the next job opportunity. Whatever the case, it is still possible to turn it to you advantage.
If you took a course, or were working at another job, chances are you may have picked up some skills that may be relevant to the job. Keep in mind that there are some skills that are universal and can help in nearly all jobs; skills such as management skills, people skills, communication skills, selling skills, etc. Even working at the counter of a fast food joint can help you build your selling skills (upselling side dishes), people and communications skills (dealing with people from all wake of life), and perhaps even get you a glimpse in the management style and system in a fast paced consumer oriented company.
Even if you were just sitting at home, chances are you may have read some books or some blogs related to your friend, so, you were conducting research and improving your knowledge. Anything can be spun to your advantage, if you know how.
Even if despite all of this, the interviewer is not convinced, then perhaps it is just time to walk away; not literally (we don’t recommend walking out of the interview, but rather figuratively. Unless this was your dream job, finish the interview to the best of your abilities and let it go. There are other jobs in the market, and it they are that stringent that they would consider a good candidate due to something as minor as a gap on their resume, then perhaps it was not the right workplace for you and maybe you wouldn’t have been happy in the long run and are better off anyway.