Blog: 6 tips to explain a career gap
5-min read. When you jump off the career treadmill, whether to take an intended break or due to technical glitches beyond your control, hopping back on when you are ready might not always be a cakewalk. You will have to channelize all your energies towards pumping your self-confidence, preparing new daily schedules, stepping out of your comfort zone and of course, facing job interviews. Here are some tips on how you can answer the most probable question you might face in your next interview: Why is there a gap in your resume?
1.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Candid is key
A baby (or babies), an ailing family member, a desire to travel without buying a return ticket or a manager that would make Miranda Priestly seem saint-like ‚Äď your reason to take a career break could be anything important to you. While discussing this topic with your prospective employer, it is best to be straightforward. Not only will this highlight your genuineness, but also bring out the fact that you are an honest and reliable person. Stay focussed on your goals from here on, and direct the interview in a direction that focusses on your skills and experience.¬†
2.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Confidence counts
While deciding to be upfront about the reason behind your career gap is half the battle won, the other half is all about how you present it to the interviewer. Whether it was a long break or a short one, an envisioned decision or an enforced one, what matters is how you communicate it. To get this bit right, you will need to prepare your answer beforehand and even rehearse it. This will help you sound confident and sure of yourself ‚Äď a definite advantage in any interview. Use humour, if you can, to show that you are at complete ease with the situation at hand.¬†
3.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Highlight your assignments
More often than not, not working full time is seen as a career break. However, if you were able to manage working as a consultant or freelancer while being on a ‚Äėbreak‚Äô, it is really important to discuss this in detail during your interview. This will help to highlight your dedication to stay updated with your industry, be financially independent and keep in touch with your peers.
If you are on an extended break and are looking for flexible or part-time opportunities, ¬†has you covered!¬†
4.¬† ¬† ¬† Showcase your latest skills
While a break from work should ideally be just that, it helps if you can show how you upskilled or kept yourself updated on the latest industry trends even during this period. The easiest way to do this is to pursue an online certification course or pursue part-time courses at an university. This is also extremely beneficial if you intend to make a career switch when you return to a full-time job. This could be the perfect time¬†to learn up about the new industry that interests you ‚Äď talk to people in that field or seek a mentor.¬†
Websites such as Coursera and Udemy offer short certification courses that are easily accessible from across the globe. Look them up!
5.¬† ¬† ¬† Talk about your¬†hobbies
Being on a career break is the perfect time to finally find time to do things you always wanted to do. Perhaps playing in a band or learning a new language might not have seemed to be massively resume-friendly when you first indulged in it but highlighting it during your interview can add unique layers to your personality. Mentioning how you picked up a new hobby or worked on an age-old interest will give the interviewer a peek into your enthusiasm for activities apart from work and daily chores. In fact, it will also highlight how you balance your daily life along with pursuing something you love. So, however unrelated your hobby might sound to your job profile, never not mention it.
6.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Mention your volunteer work
Many of us volunteer at NGOs ‚Äď teaching underprivileged children, spending time with the elderly, doing community service, or even supporting an animal welfare organization. While these are highly personal choices, mentioning them in your resume will highlight qualities of empathy, compassion and dedication. Corporate Social Responsibility is taken quite seriously in larger organisations, and your time spent volunteering could help them with great insights on ways to contribute back to society.¬†
Have interesting points to add to this list? Let us know.
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