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Today we are talking about how to properly explain a career gap. We’ve all been in that position where we have experienced a gap of unemployment, whether it was because of unexpected personal issues or even just voluntarily leaving if you weren’t 100% satisfied. Having a gap of unemployment doesn’t always have to be negative, it is all in how you approach the explanation that will either help or hinder your future job opportunities.

What’s the best way to acknowledge the unemployment gap?

  • Be the leader in the situation. Say what you want and need to say, and move on from it. The length of the conversation is entirely up to you, so make sure you do not ramble on for too long but also that you are not vague in your explanation.
  • Make sure you have an answer when the question of your employment gap comes up. Practice the answer, so it doesn’t seem like you made it up on the spot. Showing that you are well prepared for that question will show the employer that you have recognized the gap and have had time to understand why it happened.
  • Be honest and upfront about what happened. Was it intentional? Did you choose to take time off for travelling or for personal issues? Was it unexpected? Was your position eliminated or was there a shortage of work? This will help explain the gap, if you were searching for a new job. Were you fired? If you were, you need to be upfront. But be upfront without badmouthing your previous employer/employees. This will show your level of maturity, and show that you take responsibility for your actions and for what caused the termination. Use this to show the employer how you have grown and learned from that experience.

Having a gap of employment does not have to be a negative thing. The situation is entirely what you make of it, so stay positive and confident in your explanation. The question about your gap will come up during interviews, so make sure you are prepared!