Job loss due to recession, a year off to deal with mental health issues and burnout, a few months off to “figure things out” or to deal with family issues or the gap between graduation and first job or even to go traveling- there can be a hundred reasons for having an employment gap in your resume!
Are you worried that an employment gap might stop you from landing your dream job? Don’t worry; we have got you covered. Keep reading! If you have a gap in your resume, you are not alone. Most people have been unemployed at some point in their life.
Irrespective of your reason for having a gap, some recruiters may hesitate to consider your resume for a position in their company. An employment gap is usually a red flag during a job search.
Explaining an employment gap due to personal reasons may be intimidating. However, ignoring or lying about it won’t do you any good. A promising way to address any concerns the recruiter may have about your time off is with a cover letter. And then being honest and upfront in the interview. In this blog, we will share tips on how to write a letter of explanation for employment gaps.
What are Employment Gaps?
Employment gaps refer to periods in your professional career when you weren’t formally employed. An employment gap can range from a couple of months to several years. They can be voluntary or involuntary and may have several reasons.
Tips for Writing a Letter of Explanation for Employment Gaps
Hiring managers and recruiters form their first impression of you as a potential candidate from your cover letter and resume. Therefore, employment gaps can leave a poor impression if you don’t explain the reason for your gap. Please explain any gaps in employment to increase your chances of landing an interview rather than allowing you to infer some wrong conclusion.
Follow these steps to clarify employment gaps on your resume:
Spend Your Unemployed Time Preparing for Your Upcoming Interview.
The easiest way to explain employment gaps in your resume is to invest your sabbatical time preparing for your return to a job. You can use this time for your professional development and career advancement through online training, networking events, volunteering, continuing education, freelancing, etc.
By staying active during your employment gap, you will have positive experiences to vouch for when writing your resume.
Be Open and Honest.
Another great way to deal with employment gaps is through honesty and open communication. While it may seem easier to lie or cover-up, being honest will work in your favor. For instance, to explain the employment gap after graduation, be truthful about why you took time off.
No matter what the situation, try not to lie about your employment history. Explaining employment gaps honestly will signal to your recruiter that you are trustworthy, making your resume stand out from the candidate pool. So, whether your reasons are positive or negative, address them in your cover letter.
Include Relevant Experience Gained During the Employment Gaps.
Relating the knowledge you gained during your time off to the job is imperative. For instance, if you took three years off for maternity and you are applying for a nurturing job, you can frame the gap explanation for unemployment in your resume like this:
Full-time parent, 2018- 2021
* I took time away from my job to raise my child
* I single-handedly managed the household with daily chores
* I ensured my child was safe, developing, and happy
Keep Your Explanation Precise and Direct.
Recruiters don’t need personal details explaining every month of your employment gap. They need a core explanation with solid facts that reassures them that they are 100 percent ready to return to work.
Avoid writing paragraphs over-explaining the gap in your resume; instead, sound convincing that your situation will not affect your new position. Ensure that your letter of explanation for the employment gap highlights your skills, passion, and experience. Limit your reasons to three sentences, and move on.
Do not share information that may do you more harm than good. For instance, try not to share details about your negative experience with your previous company. Although you shouldn’t lie about your situation, there is no need to go overboard. Remember that honesty doesn’t necessarily mean providing every minute detail of the gap and disclosing sensitive information.
Emphasize Your Interest in the Job.
To compensate for gaps in your resume, you need strong selling points. Showcase genuine enthusiasm and interest in the job you are being offered.
You must go the extra mile to learn more about the organization, its culture, mission, values, leaders, achievements, and what they offer. This way, you can highlight what excites you about the position and why the firm is your preferred choice after a long career break. Try to demonstrate that you are not only a fit candidate for the job but also that your personal goals align with the company’s culture.
When drafting a letter of explanation for employment gaps, try not to sound desperate. You should not express that you want to take on any available job that comes your way. It can negatively impact your recruiter’s impression of you. You may be viewed as someone not passionate about what you do, thus risking your chances of being hired.
Instead, sound confident. You should seem like you are being selective about which company you join and are focused on finding the perfect fit for the long term. If you have had an unsuccessful job search in the last couple of months, don’t mention that. It’s not a good idea. Focus on proving that you have the relevant skills to do a good job and are the best candidate for the job despite your career break!
This was our detailed guide on how to write a letter of explanation for employment gaps. Make sure you are honest, confident, and open about your time off and the reasons when you sit for the interview.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How do you justify employment gaps?
The best way to justify employment gaps is by being honest and genuine. No matter why you have had a career break, it is imperative to be candid and properly explain. Doing this can avoid any inconsistencies in your CV throughout the interview. Make sure you precisely explain your reasoning.
What is the best reason for an employment gap?
The best reason to explain an employment gap is being laid off due to organizational changes and thus looking for a new job. It is a justifiable reason that employers will understand.
How do you put a 2-year gap on a resume?
The perfect way to justify a 2-year employment gap on your resume is to mention the exact period you had taken time off and label it as a “planned career break.” Under this, you can include a few lines on why you took it. For instance, “took two years off work to focus on my personal development” or “maternity leave,” etc.
Why do employers hate gaps?
Employers generally dislike employment gaps, particularly long ones. It is because gaps on a resume are seen as a red flag. It signals the employer that you may be unreliable, have commitment issues, didn’t get along at your last workplace, or companies are unwilling to hire you. That’s why it is crucial, to be honest about why there is a gap.