It’s a shame that some recruiters and hiring managers get deterred by resumes with career gaps. Taking breaks in your career should be encouraged, not something that should cause any concerns about your employability.
If you have a resume gap, it’s understandable to have some doubts about your chances of landing your next role. But have no fear, my friend! I want you to know that you’re not alone. In fact, nearly 70% of US workers have an employment gap on their resume.
The key to not letting it stop you is in how you tell your story in your interviews. In this article, we will share different ways to explain your resume gap and how to keep the focus on the real star of the interview: your skills and experiences!
It’s no secret that the last couple of years have been tough on the economy and the job market. Technology companies, in particular, have undergone some of the biggest layoffs in their history, and teams in all departments have been affected. While most recruiters will understand, it’s still a good idea to explain your situation if you were one of the team members impacted.
When you are asked what happened in your previous role, tell the recruiter about the context of the layoffs, then follow up, showing your resourcefulness and optimism amid challenging times. Here’s an example here:
“While I enjoyed my three years at [organization], I learned my role was impacted during last summer’s layoffs. My company announced they were going through some fundamental organizational changes, and my role, along with everyone else’s on the marketing team, was terminated.
The news came as a shock to me, but it was a good learning experience for me and a blessing in disguise. I took it as an opportunity to reassess where I want to take my career moving forward and upskill in areas that would make me a better Digital Marketing Manager. I am excited to find a new opportunity where I can now bring my newfound skills to life.”
If you present it this way, there’s a great chance that your recruiter will see you as an asset and someone who can overcome anything that is thrown your way.
Let’s talk about a job that never gets enough credit: being a parent! This is one of the more common reasons to take a break, and most employers will understand. They most likely have been in your shoes at one point in their careers or at least know someone who has. If you have a career gap on your resume because you took time to care for a little one, here’s an example of how you can share your story:
“It was a difficult decision to step away from my career, but I chose to stay at home and take care of my son full-time. My family means the world to me, and it was the right thing to do at the time. While being a new parent had its own set of challenges, I was also able to keep my skills fresh by helping out with my friend’s side hustle and volunteering on the weekends. My son is now starting school, and I am ready to get back to my craft!”
There may be times where you feel like you’ve hit a wall with your professional development and growth. In those situations, taking a break to upskill is a great way to prepare yourself for a big career jump and learn new emerging skills. Upskilling is key to staying relevant in today’s ever-changing job market.
During a job interview, make sure to share the details of your learning journey and the valuable lessons you’ve learned along the way. Here’s an example of what you can say:
“I found myself in a bit of a rut at work, feeling like my data skills were limited and not up to par with what the market demands. So, I decided to take matters into my own hands and plan out the next few months of my professional development. I enrolled in a full-time Master’s program for Data Analytics and learned so much in that one year. I am excited to return to my career and put these new skills to use!”
By highlighting your proactive approach to learning and how you’ve applied those lessons to your career, you’ll showcase your dedication and commitment to professional development. And that, my friend, is an impressive quality to have!
There’s a multitude of reasons that can make you hit the pause button on your career. These I’ve mentioned are but a few of them. Remember that recruiters and hiring managers are humans too and will most likely understand and empathize with your situation. If anything, it will further cement why you are a terrific candidate for the role. Seize the opportunity to show them that you possess the complete package: solid experience, the right skills, and as these career gaps can attest, resilience and grit!
Learn the strategies for your resume, interviews, and emails that have helped our clients land roles at Tesla, Google, J.P. Morgan, Adidas, and more.