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Employment Gaps


   

“Please explain any gaps in employment …”

Why do so many job applications and interviews include that statement? And what is the best way for an applicant to respond?

Interviewers question gaps in employment because they want to be confident that you will be on the job. Employee turnover is costly to business owners. Time spent interviewing, hiring, and training an employee is recouped only by having that employee remain on staff for a reasonable amount of time.

Having several and/or lengthy employment gaps on your resume raises valid concerns for potential employers.

What should you do if you were unemployed for several months? Be honest.
 

Explain what you were doing during the time you were not working. You may have been caring for a family member, taking courses, doing contract work, or waiting for a very specific job opening. Whatever the reason, be truthful.

Highlight any skills that you gained or improved during the employment gap. Did you use organizational skills doing volunteer work? Did you complete coursework either online or in person? Did you gain new knowledge by acting as a caregiver?

Keep your answer short. Speak about the gap as a positive experience. Most important, be clear that the reason for the employment gap is over and you are ready to return to work.

If asked why you are returning to work now, avoid saying “Because I need a job.” Instead, let the interviewer know why you are especially interested in the current opening. Finally, express your enthusiasm and excitement about returning to the workforce.

(7/25/2013)

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