Whether you’re currently unemployed and looking for a new opportunity or you have a gap in your work history on your resume, this can be a tough topic to navigate. If you have a lapse in your work history, you will likely be asked about it during your job interview. However, how you respond to this topic will make or break your chances of nailing the interview. Here’s how to discuss this issue if it comes up.
Come prepared with an answer
First of all, if you find yourself in this situation, prepare an answer ahead of time. The interviewers will likely notice if you have a lapse in your resume. Especially if it’s a significant gap. If it’s only a few weeks or a month, the question probably won’t even come up. However, if you were out of work for several months at a time, it will likely raise some red flags.
But don’t panic! If you find yourself in this boat, take a few minutes to prepare your answer beforehand so you can answer it briefly and move on to the next question.
Keep it positive
Regardless of why you were/are unemployed, keep your answer positive. If you were laid off or fired, don’t start badmouthing your previous employer. That never reflects well on you. Instead, try to keep it positive. If you talk poorly about a past employer, what will you say about the organization interviewing you for their open position?
And if it was a voluntary unemployment, the hiring manager will wonder why you left. Again, keep it positive. Did you take a break to focus on your health? Did you use your time off of work to hone a new skill or earn a certification? By focusing on the positive, you will reassure the interviewers that you’re a strong candidate and won’t bring any drama to the company.
Less is more
This is probably the most important point. The more information you offer, the bigger the hole you may be digging for yourself. Don’t sit there and blather on. Instead, keep your answer short and sweet. Answer the question concisely, positively, and spare any details that aren’t necessary. It can be easy to simply keep offering up unnecessary information to try and justify your absence from the workforce.
Nonetheless, if you come prepared and follow the advice outlined above, the interviewers will likely move on to the next question without putting you through the wringer.