How to Explain Career Gaps in Resume & During an Interview

21 July 2022 Matt Armstrong

Explaining Career Gaps In Your Resume & during an interview

It’s completely normal for people to have periods of time where they have not worked for one reason or another. Most people become concerned about how to explain these employment gaps and worry that it might impact their ability to secure a new role. However, there are many good reasons why someone may have gaps in their work history.

Maybe you took a few years off to raise a family or travel the world. Or perhaps you were unemployed for a while after being impacted by the global pandemic. Whatever the reason, it is imperative, to be honest, and have a well-prepared explanation for your career break. 

Read on to learn about employment gaps and how to deal with them on your resume and during an interview.

Employment gaps on your resume

What can you do to make employment gaps on your resume less obvious? Continue reading to find out more. 

1. During the gap, include any other experience you gained (skills and certifications)

What did you do when you didn't have a job?  Did you work as a freelancer? Did you volunteer? All those activities qualify as work and can be listed on your CV. Include the job title, employer name, work description, and dates of employment on your resume, just like you would for your previous jobs.

In the education part of your resume, you could mention any classes you have taken. 

2. Collate all the freelance gigs 

During the gap period, if you worked as a freelancer and helped multiple clients, you can combine the dates and experience under one column. Then, emphasise each bullet to underline the tasks you completed for a specific client. By doing this, your resume will look more professional, and you will come off as a dedicated consultant rather than a job hopper.

You could use the same trick to make your Resume look less chaotic if you held a string of part-time jobs that were similar in nature.

4 significant career gaps during an interview 

A variety of factors often causes career breaks, and here are some ways to present them on your resume and cover letter.

1. If you took a few years off to raise a family

Being a parent is one of the most demanding jobs there is. Not only do you have to care for your children physically, but you also have to meet their emotional needs and keep them safe. This requires constant vigilance and a lot of multitasking. However, this can also be an excellent opportunity to hone your organisational skills. 

Employers will want to hear how you used that time and what skills or experience you gained that can benefit their company. 

After all, if you can successfully coordinate the schedules of multiple small children, then you can handle anything that comes your way. 

Also, take a look at our end-to-end interview guide to nail your next job interview!

2. If you took care of an elderly relative

Many people choose to care for elderly relatives, and this can be a great asset to mention in a job interview. Caring for an elderly relative can help to expand your patience and ability to handle difficult situations. Elderly relatives often have specific needs that must be met, which can require a great deal of patience and understanding. In addition, it can also help you to develop problem-solving skills. 

So if you mention this experience in a job interview, don't be afraid to highlight how it has helped you grow and develop as a person.

3. If you took time off due to illness

If you took time off due to illness, be sure to mention it in your interview and describe how you've used that time to get better and prepare for your next job. You could also highlight any volunteer work or activities you pursued during that time.

Employers will want to know that you're motivated and ready to return to the workforce!

4. If you went to travel between jobs or contracts 

Traveling is a great experience and you can use it as an advantage point in your resume. It helps you become more adaptable and versatile, which are both important qualities in today's workplace.

Tell them that you learned about other cultures and environments and this experience gave you a much broader perspective!

Parity Consulting is a recruitment specialist across Product, Pricing & Actuarial, Data & Analytics, Marketing, Comms & Digital. If you would like to connect with one of our consultants, you can reach them here!

Alternatively, you can email us at: info@parityconsulting.com.au or call us at: +61 3 9923 8081, +61 2 8068 2016.

Written by Matt Armstrong:

Matt Armstrong is a Specialist Consultant at Parity Consulting, as well as a husband, father of two wonderful children, avid Birdwatcher, and gaming enthusiast. On most days, you can find him curled up on the couch with a good book or browsing the Internet researching a future travel destination.