Job interviews can be stress-inducing and nerve-wracking for everyone, but they can really induce panic when you have unemployment gaps on your resume. How do you explain to a potential employer that you were out of work? For starters, know that you aren’t alone—according to the Pew Research Center, one in four U.S. adults say either they or someone in their household lost their jobs due to the pandemic. So regardless of why you were out of work, face up to it, be honest, and let your future employer know that you’re ready to work.
Here are a few ways to address gaps on your resume that will show employer’s they’d be lucky to have you:
Be Honest and Transparent with Your Resume
You may be tempted to fudge the dates on your resume so your unemployment gaps aren’t listed at all, but the worst thing you could do is to be dishonest. It only takes one reference check to uncover a lie. And while an employer might hire you if you got laid off, they’re unlikely to take a chance on you if they think you’re a dishonest person.
Prepare Your Explanation for Interviews
Think about why you were out of work. Did you lose your job because of the pandemic? Did the business you worked for close? Did you have a baby or need to care for an ill family member? Even if you were fired, own it. Whatever your story is, tell it honestly. Avoid too many details and never blame others for what happened to you, but know what you’re going to say before you say it.
Rehearse Your Answer to Address Resume Gaps
You don’t need to memorize your answer like you would a speech. But you should be able to answer questions about your resume gaps with confidence. If you walk into the interview shaky and fumble through your answer, the hiring manager may think you have something to hide. Stand in front of a mirror and repeat your answer a few times until you feel confident and comfortable.
Use Resume Gaps to Your Advantage
Are you still in the middle of that unemployment gap? Use this time to develop as a professional. You could volunteer at a nonprofit or job shadow someone in an industry you’d like to work in. You could take an online program or work toward a certificate or degree. You may not be able to update the employment section of your resume just yet, but you can still update the skills and education sections. Then when someone asks about that resume gap, you can explain that it wasn’t really a gap at all!
Most importantly, know that you aren’t alone. Unemployment gaps are more common than you think. And if a potential employer doesn’t understand that reality, maybe they’re not for you. Remember, the fit for employer-employee needs to work both ways.
If you’re ready to expand your skills, broaden your knowledge, and polish your resume, now is a great time to head back to school. At Charter College, we offer certificate and degree programs in Business, Health Care, Information Technology, Veterinary Assistant, and some Trades. Call 888-200-9942 or fill out the form to learn more.