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How To Explain a Career Gap in an Interview

career gap in interview

At work, there are times when we need to pay attention to things outside of our job. A short break for a few days might not be sufficient, and sometimes, we end up with gaps in our job history. This can happen by choice or due to unexpected situations. But talking about it during a job interview can be tricky. If you need help figuring out how to explain why there’s a career gap in your work history on your resume, this blog is here to help.

What Exactly is a Career Gap? 

Simply said, the career gap is a period when someone looking for a job wasn’t working professionally or wasn’t open to job opportunities. This break from work can be a personal choice or influenced by external factors. No set time defines a short or long career gap, but most HR professionals generally see a gap of over nine months as a potential drawback.

How to Address Career Gaps on Your Resume

Addressing career gaps on your resume is crucial to alleviate potential concerns that employers may harbor. To effectively navigate this aspect of your professional history, consider the following tips:

Prioritize Honesty

Always maintain honesty when communicating the reasons for your career gap. Honesty fosters trust, and employers value transparency.

Opt for a Functional Resume

Explore using a functional resume format, emphasizing skills and qualifications over a strict chronological work history. This approach helps shift the focus away from the gaps in your employment timeline.

Incorporate the Explanation in Your Cover Letter

Utilize your cover letter to provide a brief, positive explanation for any employment gaps. Emphasize the valuable experiences or skills you acquired during those periods, demonstrating your proactive personal and professional development approach.

Volunteer Work or Freelance Projects

If it applies to you, share any volunteer work, freelance projects, or consulting you did while not in a regular job. This shows you stayed active and involved in your field.

Professional Improvement

Talk about any classes, certificates, workshops, or things you did to improve your job during the break. It shows you were working to improve your skills.

Family or Personal Reasons

If you took time off for family or personal reasons, briefly say so without going into too much detail. Focus on how you dealt with challenges and moved forward.


career gap in interview

Show Transferable Skills

Highlight any skills or experiences you gained during the break that can be useful for your desired job. Show how these skills can transfer to the new position.

Networking and Industry Events

Share any networking events, conferences, or industry seminars you attended during your break. This demonstrates your commitment to staying connected and well-informed within your field.

Be Positive and Forward-Looking

Present your explanation in a positive light. Instead of focusing too much on the gap, highlight your enthusiasm and readiness to contribute to the new role.

Professional References

Offer references from professionals who can speak to your skills and work ethic. Strong references can help ease any concerns about employment gaps and reinforce your capabilities.

Online Presence

Ensure that your LinkedIn profile and other professional online profiles are current. A consistent and well-crafted online presence can strengthen your qualifications and support your candidacy.

Remember, employers recognize that life is unpredictable, and there can be different reasons for employment gaps. Discussing and explaining those gaps can influence how potential employers see your suitability for the position.

Tricks to Cover Career Gap on Your Resume

These tricks can help you keep your employment gap on the down-low in your resume. Apply them wisely, and they might make a big difference.

  1. Talk about the years, not months. Instead of saying (June 2018-December 2019), write (2018-2019).
  2. Choose resume styles where dates are in smaller letters than the more noticeable ones.
  3. Skip mentioning every employer; focus on the important ones.
  4. Include freelancing (if you did any) to show you used your time well.

For helpful advice on interview questions, check out SpotGiraffe. It’s made for folks in finance and accounting and is an excellent tool for job seekers and strategic hiring. If you’re considering a new career path or need to find key team members, SpotGiraffe is a top pick with its specially designed platform.

SpotGiraffe stands out from regular job search sites because it goes beyond just showing job ads. Our career platform enhances your career journey. With an easy-to-use interface, finding job openings and essential information is a breeze. This unique approach significantly boosts your chances of discovering exciting opportunities in the fast-paced world of finance and accounting.


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