The official blog of Abacus Group — a place to share our knowledge and thoughts on trends in recruiting

September 06, 2019

How to Discuss Gaps in Your Employment History


It’s the daunting question that you know the interviewer will probably ask: What were you doing during the time when you were not working? Whether you chose to prioritize something in your personal life, or your jobs came to an end and it took some time to find your next role, it is not uncommon to have some gaps in time on your resume. However, answering this question honestly and thoughtfully can give you the opportunity to show a more personal side of you and demonstrate the quality of your character.

If your time out of the office was a choice you made, briefly explain why you decided to take a break from work without sharing too many details. Preparing a sentence or two to summarize what happened will ensure that you don’t cross the line between professional and personal but will still allow you to show that your decision was what was best for the situation.

If you were laid off or fired, the discussion can be a little more anxiety-producing. Instead of sharing how you felt at the time, reflect on the positive parts of the position and how the experiences helped you grow as a professional. Showing that you can handle tough situations in a mature way will refocus the interviewer’s attention back to your strengths.

Samantha García, one of the Executive Recruiters on our Administrative Support, Human Resources, and Marketing team, recommends that “When discussing a resume gap, it is imperative that you are transparent without getting too personal. If you took time off to stay at home with your children, talk about how that experience was enriching and fulfilling and the perfect break before heading back to work. If you struggled to find work after a layoff, talk about what you did while job searching that helped better you professionally for your next opportunity.”

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