How to Explain Long Breaks Between Jobs to an Employer

There’s nothing more uncomfortable during a job search than explaining an employment gap. You might not know what to say or want to say anything at all.

However, if you don’t explain it, employers will automatically assume the worst: you were fired. So it’s best to provide an explanation as to why there’s a gap and why you’re ready for a new job now. To help you in the process, here are some tips to keep in mind:

How Can You Explain Long Breaks to an Employer?

Practice your answer.

If you’re applying to a job, include an explanation on your cover letter, whether it was due to a leave to raise young children or taking care of ill parents. Then simply state that you’re eager and excited about returning to the workforce.

If, however, you’re headed to an interview, make sure you practice your answer out loud. That way, you’ll offer the right amount of detail and won’t feel uncomfortable when the question comes your way.

Don’t overshare.

When you keep talking, you’re oversharing. The hiring manager doesn’t need to know every detail of your gap. Don’t divulge too much information, like why you need to take six months off from your job to go hiking in the Himalayas; just keep your answer short and simple.

Also, if you took time off, for instance, due to a death in the family, be careful here. Don’t get emotional during the interview or offer details on what happened. Simply stick to the facts and move on.

Explain the benefits.

If, for instance, you took time off to raise a family, talk about the transferable skills you gained and are ready to put to use in a new job. If you took time off, on the other hand, to go back to school, explain why, your goals, and what you’re looking for in a future role with your new degree. When you have a good reason for your gap, hiring managers will breathe a sigh of relief and feel more comfortable extending an offer.

Talk about new skills.

If you took time off to take care of an aging parent and also took online classes in programming at the same time, highlight the skills you learned through this experience. This will demonstrate to the hiring manager that you were eager to continue learning even during your employment gap. You can also talk about any soft skills you gained, like adaptability, problem-solving, and organization.

Focus on the future.

A hiring manager’s biggest fear about you is that you’re going to quit after a few weeks or months on the job. It’s up to you to provide reassurance that now is the time for you to re-enter the workforce.

Get help getting back into the workforce.

If you’d like help finding your next job, turn to an employment agency. At OneSource Staffing Solutions, we will take time to learn about your background and goals and then connect you with the right-fit opportunities. Search our jobs now to get started.

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