Job interviews are full of awkward questions, and few get more awkward than when a potential employer asks about a gap on your resume. If you offer no explanation, your potential employer is left to use their imaginations, but if you give too many details, well, that gets messy. Here’s how to deal when a potential employer asks about a gap on your resume during a job interview.
If you lie, well, there are ways for them to verify whatever you say. Background checks are a thing.
If you left work for a medical condition, say so, but know the risks involved.
You’re not obligated to say what the condition is, and it might be illegal (depending on where you live and work) for your potential employer to even ask. Just know that unless you specify that whatever condition you had is taken care of and far behind you, it may be a red flag for employers. It’s unfair, but they can see it as a liability if they think there’s a possibility you’ll have to leave them, too.
If you left work to focus on your family, tell them that, but make sure they know you’re done with that for now.
Any human being with a normal amount of empathy will understand if you had to take care of a sick spouse, relative, or child. They may, however, worry as hiring managers if you don’t make it clear that you now have a steady support system in place that allows you to go back to work.
If you got laid off, say so.
Mass layoffs happen, and they often happen to great employees who just happened to be at the wrong job at the wrong time. Hiring managers will understand.
Keep it brief.
Save your sob stories for Dr. Phil. Don’t focus on why you left the workforce, but rather why their company needs you right now.
Let them know that you kept busy while unemployed.
Did you take classes? Did you volunteer anywhere? Did you start your own side business selling macaroni necklaces? These are assets to brag about. Well, maybe don’t specify that the necklaces were made of rigatoni.