How to Explain Gaps in Your Employment? [with Answers for 2021]

Explaining gaps in your employment can be challenging and it requires smart and well framed answers to satisfy the employer. If you are someone who is undergoing the same dilemma thinking how do you answer this question, then you have come to the right place. This article provides you with the reasons and some sample examples that can help you frame a satisfactory answer to the question, “How do you explain gaps in your employment?”

What reasons can you give to justify the gap?

Here are a list of sample reason that might have forced you take employment gap and can be used in an interview-

  1. Taking care of a sick relative
  2. Taking care of your young child
  3. Any medical or health-related problem
  4. Taking a break from work to migrate and look for work in a different state or city
  5. Continuing your study or returning to school/university
  6. Obtaining any other form of professional education
  7. Traveling, studying, working on a single project, and so forth.
  8. Looking to establish a business or work as a freelancer
  9. You were laid off, your prior employer downsized, etc., and you had a difficult time finding work after that
  10. You were looking for a job (this is explained further)

How to Frame the Answer?

After you have chosen a suitable reason, you can use the step-to-step guideline that will help you explain the gaps in your employment history:

Be Prepared

If you have a gap on your CV, it will not necessarily keep you from progressing through the interview process. Potential employers, on the other hand, will expect an explanation that is true and not made up. Take the time to plan ahead of time how you will bridge the gap in a way that exudes confidence and optimism and does not portray you as a negative candidate for the position.

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Never Lie

One of the very basics for acing any interview includes being truthful with your potential employers. You want to be honest without getting into too much detail. Give them the reasons as to why were you unemployed at that time and what you did during that period. Never try to make things up and try to explain the most in least words.

Do not look completely alienated

Try to fill in the gaps and make yourself look like someone who had completely alienated himself/herself from the industry. While you don’t need to go into great depth about what caused gap in your employment, you should discuss how you used that time. Mention any industry-related reading you did, how you kept in touch with your colleagues, or what you did to prepare for your re-entry. Include any freelance employment, volunteer or community service roles you’ve held, workshops or events you’ve attended, or any other method you’ve furthered your professional capabilities. Even if you haven’t been formally engaged, the idea here is to portray that you have been engaged and working on improving yourself.

Keep if short and change the topic if you feel uncomfortable at any point

Many people take time off for various reasons. These reasons are sometimes personal and something you’d rather keep hidden. Return the topic to your desire and ability to accomplish the job you’re applying for once you’ve addressed the gap and stated what you did during that period. You may accomplish this by asking your interviewer a question after you’ve answered theirs. If the conversation goes in a route that you are uncomfortable with, you might remark, “I’d rather not go into further detail.” However, I am eager to discuss the specifics of my professional experience.” You might next include another tale from your work history to demonstrate your suitability for the role, “I’m not comfortable with where our talk is going, therefore this may not be the perfect fit,” you might remark at any point throughout the interview if you think that the conversation is going out of the context and you do not want to discuss more about it.

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Sample answers to explain gaps in your interview

Sample Answer-1

I had to quit from my former work in order to care for an elderly relative. This is something I’ve been doing over the past year. My siblings and I have now hired a full-time caretaker, so I am no longer required to be present and am completely capable of working now and in the future. So I’ve started looking for a job, and I’m hoping to locate a sales supervisor or manager role that would help me improve my career.

Sample Answer-2

I had different expectations than the firm. When I think back on that incident, I realize there were a few things I might have done differently. I learned a lot, and I’m looking forward to using what I’ve learned to my future employment.

Sample Answer-3

I was able to take some time away from work to devote to myself. It was a period in my life when I was getting ready to take on new tasks. I’m ecstatic about the possibilities that lay ahead, including this employment.

Sample Answer-4

Nine months ago, I was laid off. I quickly began my job hunt, and I’m currently seeking for sales supervisor or sales manager roles to advance my career. I’ve had several interviews but have yet to find the proper fit. One of the things I’m looking for is the opportunity to coach and teach team members, as well as direct management of a team. I saw it in the job description for this position and will like to know more about it.

Sample Answer-5

My prior employer went through a reorganization that resulted in the elimination of my employment. To be honest, it was a trying period. But I departed with the assurance that I had gained valuable experience and formed strong bonds with my bosses and coworkers. I’m looking forward to putting those skills to use in my future position.

Employment Gaps in the Resume

One of the issues that you might be facing is that, so far you have not been called for any interview and are still trying to figure out a way to write a proper resume. If you are one of those then the tips given below will help you solve this problem-

  1. Listing years instead of months in your previous job positions (as in: 2017-2020). This method can help you hide smaller gaps of 2-3 months. But this method is not helpful if you have frequent employment gaps or longer gaps which are more than a year. Just remember that here you are not lying with your potential employer, you are just strategizing things smartly and using your CV to your advantage.
  2. If your breaks in work are longer or more regular, try including a brief statement on your CV explaining why. Just include it on your resume like any other employment. List your prior jobs and the dates you worked in them. You’d also include dates and a one-line explanation for your gap. Here you need to mention the actual and practical reasons for taking a break so that the employers can consider you looking at the genuine issues that you might have been facing in the past. (You can refer to the list in the very beginning of this article.)
  3. Make relevant updates in your profession accounts such as LinkedIn so that your resume and online data are in sync which increases the chances of you getting hired.
  4. Always write a cover letter to make your position more clear to your employer. A proper cover letter will help the employer understand the reasons better.