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Dealing with Resume Gaps: How to Respond to 5 Scenarios

Whether it’s by choice or not, many people take time off from working. Perhaps you were raising a child, traveling, or were laid off from your previous job. Whatever the reason, if you’re searching for a new job, and worried about the gaps in your resume, you’re not alone. Historically, periods of unemployment in your career journey have been looked down upon, but times are changing. Many times, resume gaps can help you tell a more compelling story while selling yourself in an interview. Follow these best practices to make resume gaps work in your favor. 

Be honest. Be prepared. Be confident. 

Whatever your reason for time away, honesty is always the best policy. During your job search, people will pick up on your integrity, and conversely, any deceitfulness. Just as you prep to discuss your previous experience, be ready to discuss your time off. While you may feel uneasy talking about a time of unemployment, remember it’s more common than you think. Having confidence in your answer can go a long way to bridge the gap with poise and professionalism. 

You we’re laid off: 

These days it’s fairly common to have been laid off at some point from a position. Remember not to badmouth the past company or boss, instead focus on the positive things you achieved while you were there. 

You quit a job to spend time traveling: 

Rather than focusing on how much fun you had, cater your answers around how traveling contributed to your personal development. If you took on any paid or volunteer work be sure to bring that up and include the professional skills it gave you. 

You went back to school: 

If your education is relevant to the position you’re interviewing for, this should be the easiest one to answer. Avoid any answers that allude to “still figuring out what I want to do” and reassure the interviewer that the additional schooling has contributed positively to your skillset and work ethic. 

You took time off for your health: 

The interviewer won’t expect you to go into detail here; brevity is key. Prepare a very straightforward answer that you are comfortable sharing. Be sure to mention how proud you are to overcome the health problems and move the conversation quickly to discussing relevant skills you have to offer the company. 

You had to take care of family: 

Caring for a family member, or raising a family, are touch jobs that most interviewers can relate to. In fact, doing so arms you will a range of new skillsets you can bring attention to. If you were able to maintain your industry knowledge-base during your time off, be sure to mention that and end the discussion by confirming your excitement to recommit yourself to your career.