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How Do I Explain My Large Unemployment Gap?

Plenty of people have an unemployment gap on their resume; it happens. Whether you were taking time in between jobs or you got laid off, it’s unavoidable in many cases. But it’s important that you don’t let your unemployment gap throw you off your game when it comes to getting a new job. Here are four tips to explain your unemployment gap in your next interview:  

Be ready to discuss it.  

There’s nothing worse than being caught completely off-guard by a hiring manager asking about an unemployment gap. So, be prepared ahead of time to discuss the gap on your resume. Think about what you’ll say, how you’ll frame it, and what message it might send to the interviewer. That way, you’ll be best prepared to respond in a way that paints you in a positive light.  

Be honest and transparent.  

A great rule of thumb to follow when discussing your unemployment gap is to be open and honest. There’s no sense in skirting around the truth or lying outright – you’ll get caught. It’s far better to address the issue head-on.  

If you were fired or laid off, explain the reason why. Describe what you learned from the experience. If you took time off to care for an aging parent or to travel, tell the interviewer what you took away from those experiences. Putting a positive spin on your unemployment gap, even if the circumstances weren’t always ideal, is a great way to approach it.  

Explain what you did professionally during the gap. 

With any luck, you had some kind of professional development during your gap between jobs. Whether it was freelancing, attending a conference, taking an online course, or exploring another career field entirely, these experiences show that you wanted to maintain your knowledge and skills during your time off. That’s a huge plus for an employer. Plus, it gives you yet another line on your resume, helping to fill that gap.  

Move the conversation forward.  

While it’s important to be honest about your unemployment gap and discuss it freely, you don’t have to go on and on about it. Try to move the conversation forward past your gap in employment. Focus on what you can offer the company here and now – that’s why you’re interviewing, after all. Your skills, experience, and attitude will trump any unemployment gap, so don’t be afraid to move the conversation forward.  

If you’re ready to get out there and put your resume to good use, partnering with a staffing agency can help. Axiom Staffing Group’s staffing professionals are here for you. Contact us and visit our jobs page