There is no reason for having to take a career break, some of us may want to upskill ourselves, some in search of better job prospects, some of us for family or just plain boredom. The consequence of taking a sabbatical will begin with having to deal with resume gaps, which is quite common. Whatever may the reason, having to look for a job next time around will take some extra effort.
So, do you think a prospective employer will drop your resume soon after he or she sees those gaps in your resume? Might not be. Today most employers recognize the fact that resume gaps are not uncommon, and it is nearly impossible for candidates to justify continuity with one or two organizations the entire career span. Moreover, factors such as job security, learning, growth, and compensation have gained far more weightage that earlier.
Given the current scenario, how does one present his or her career gaps? How do you deal with tricky questions that you might encounter in an interview in this context? With a little preparedness and wit, you can tilt the tables around in your favor. Read on –
You got laid off- dos and don’ts.
In the current employment environment, being laid off is extremely common. Sympathies aside, it is essential that the incident is not projected in a lousy light ultimately. Focus on the answers you would like to give as positives and learning during your stint in the organization. Refrain from bad-mouthing the organization due to your sudden and unforeseen exit. Try and justify the reason for having been laid off- you can perhaps use excuses such as budget cuts, experience or tenure in the organization as some. Go on to also declare that your achievements during your stint in the organization contributed to your career and further growth.
You quit, and you did something irrelevant in the meanwhile- dos and don’ts.
Project the above as an essential aspect that contributed to your overall personality. Say for instance you just decided to quit and make a trip backpacking around Europe. As against the amount of fun you had, highlight any paid or voluntary assignments and experience gained from it. If nothing you can explain on how refreshed and recharged, the trip made you feel and how it has helped your perspective in life. Nothing can be discredited if you sound earnest about your justification.
You decide to take up some advanced courses- dos and don’ts.
This is perhaps the easiest one to justify- more so if what you have taken up is relevant to the chosen line of work. Even otherwise, it is quite easy to convince a prospective employer on why you decided to pursue academics with some intelligence and hard work. Refrain from sounding confused and disillusioned as to why the break was taken to study.
Unwell and therefore took a break? Dos and don’ts.
You may or may not comfortable discussing what went wrong with your health with the interview. It would help to be prepared ahead with an explanation along with your strengths that helped you deal with the illness. Move on to a conversation swiftly into the present day by discussing the relevant skills you have to offer this company. A lot depends on how you project your difficult times in your interview. Do not sound or look weak or make your health the point of your discussion.
Took off to take care of your family? Dos and don’ts.
At no point should the interviewer be allowed to indicate that your decision to prioritize family over career reflects on your capabilities. During this period of a break, if you did have time to keep your skills and industry knowledge up to date do not fail to mention it. At all points in the discussion tell the interviewer that you’re excited to recommit yourself to your career. Do remember that any company worth your time and effort should be able to recognize your ability to multitask and still perform, whether it is family or career.
Last but never least do not lie in the resume or to the interview. If you are asked about your resume gaps, the best way to deal with it is having to take a deep breath and acknowledge the interviewer’s concern first. Do not attempt to sound defensive, instead empathize with the interviewer’s insecurity and sound reassuring. Stay composed, confident and answer with utmost sincerity and earnestness.