When it comes to job hunting, having a solid resume and job experience are beneficial. However, having a gap in your employment history can be a source of anxiety and uncertainty with the common “how do I explain it?” question popping up. It’s important to remember that breaks from work are not uncommon, and there are multiple ways to address resume gaps during an interview. Overall, a gap in a candidate’s CV can create uncertainty and raise questions in the mind of a hiring manager. However, it is important for the hiring manager to remember that there may be a valid reason for the gap.
According to a study by the Pew Research Center, approximately one in five adults in the United States have had a gap in their employment in the past five years. This number is likely to have increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which may have been caused by massive layovers or taking time off work to care for themselves or their loved ones.
Other reasons exist as we can see in a survey conducted by LinkedIn in the United Kingdom, which found that more than half of the professionals surveyed had experienced a career gap, with the most common reasons being maternity or paternity leave, health issues, and caring for a family member. Regardless of the reason for the gap, it’s important individuals are transparent and address it. For companies, resume gaps need to be followed up on to ensure the individual has a clear background and can back up their claims.
Tips for individuals
Here are some tips for dealing with resume gaps during an interview:
- Honesty: It’s important to have the confidence to share your employment history, including any details that relate to an external factor being the reason for the gap. Trying to conceal or lie about the gap may cause your credibility to be questioned.
- Focus on the Positive: Use the gaps in your resume as an opportunity to highlight other skills or experiences you gained during the time. For example, volunteering, pursuing further education such as diplomas or online courses as well as personal valuable life experience that could be relevant to your overall growth as an individual.
- Commitment: Make sure your commitment to going back to work is expressed. Talk about the challenges you look forward to overcoming, your passions and any skills you have developed to achieve this.
- Confidence: Focus on your strengths and accomplishments and approach the interview with confidence and enthusiasm, prepare yourself before the interview and make sure you go over practice questions to build up your knowledge beforehand.
- Check It Easy for Candidates: You can request an individual background check and have a certified yearly “check mark” that ensures you are cleared to work.
If you are struggling to get an interview because of the gap here are some potential things to do to get you noticed:
- Resume writers: If you are able to afford to hire help, we recommend you look into resume writers. These individuals specialize in helping people structure their resumes in the best way possible. They have extensive experience in how to structure information and ensure your resume is in the best format to go through online databases.
- Linkedin Tools: LinkedIn launched a new feature that gives users the option of adding “career breaks” to the experience section of their profile. Users can enter dates and choose a reason for the gap, including caregiving, bereavement, career transition, layoff, health and well-being, travel and volunteer work. They can also include additional details on how they spent the time. Make sure you have your profile updates correctly and take advantage of these options.
Tips for companies
While resume gaps can happen for a variety of reasons it is essential that companies double check their potential employees job history and criminal records to make sure the reasons behind the gap are what they say they are. Conducting a background check will give you peace of mind as an employer. Services such as @Check it Easy simplify the process to make it stress free. At Check It Easy we double check the information given by the candidate, go over references in the most important areas such as education, criminal background, address and social media and summarize it for you in an easy to read report which you can reference back to if necessary during your selection process.
Having gaps in your employment history is common and can be overcome by using the right tools to have a solid resume that can backup your reasoning.
By ensuring your digital platforms such as Linkedin are up to date, being honest, focusing on the positive, demonstrating your commitment, and approaching the interviews with confidence, you can overcome any concerns the interviewer may have and land the job you want. A gap in your resume is just one aspect of your career journey, and it doesn’t have to define your potential or value. As a company it is important to ensure and double check these gaps to avoid any potential problems long term and find the best employees for you!
Get in contact with us and find out more on how we can simplify your hiring process here