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How to Explain a Gap in Employment

A period of unemployment can be a job seeker’s worst nightmare. While not uncommon, they still raise questions in an interview that may leave you stressed out. If your employment gap went longer than expected, have no fear! Here are a few tips to help you explain why you weren’t working.


Tell the truth

The temptation to stretch the truth grows stronger if the reason you were unemployed relates to your job experience, but in this situation, everyone wants to make themselves look better. The good news is you can tell the truth while painting yourself in a positive light. It’s all in how you deliver the message.


Keep it brief

Speaking longer than needed on the subject may cause the interviewer to raise their eyebrows and begin to dismiss you as a candidate. Depending on your specific reason, you may feel compelled to over-explain in an attempt to make the situation clear. This can do the opposite for you, so really focus on a simple explanation without too much elaboration.


Focus on what you learned

This is especially helpful if you have to talk about being fired. Everything in life is a learning experience, so take care to frame your unemployment as such. Whether you’re describing what you learned from a bad work situation or how you expanded your knowledge during your downtime, you can show the interviewer your growth.


Practice your response

Once you figure out what you’re going to say, practice saying it. There’s nearly a 100% chance the interviewer will ask, and you want to feel prepared. Write down the main points of why you were unemployed and what you learned in the process and pretend to have normal conversations where you bring up the points. The key here is to be ready but not rehearsed.

You can take it a step further by practicing with a friend or mentor for a real reaction and potential follow-up questions. By doing this, you can see how it flows organically in conversation and prepare for any information that may be requested.


Ready to get to work?

Job hunting is the worst in any circumstance, and especially when you have something to explain with your resume. Instead of struggling alone, simplify your job search with the leading employment agency in Corpus Christi, Texas, Sterling Personnel. We place in a number of fields, including clerical, industrial, accounting, skilled trades, and much more. Search our jobs today to get started!