Employment gaps: what you should always tell employers!

The truth! There should not be an article printed or advice received from a hiring manager that suggests anything contrary and here’s the reason why: you never have to chase or track down the truth. Lies will follow and haunt you so it’s best to be honest or quiet.

We have all experienced some form of an employment gap whether it was due to a lack of previous experience, being a student or separation from an employer. These things are natural occurrences and nothing to be ashamed of. No matter, the reason, be honest and if you cannot be honest, omit.

Here’s a few incidences where omission may be the best option:

  • You were fired: if you failed to perform the basic functions of your previous position, participated in something that would raise questions to your character, ethics or simply make an employer second guess your employability as a whole, it’s best to leave that position off of your resume. If it was less than six months of employment, this can be easily explained as simple unemployment. If it was an excess of six months, you will need to fill the gap with an internship, volunteer activity or class preferably tied to your field of interest. Employers do not mind unemployment or gaps but they do question a lack of productivity during that time.

  • You were incarcerated: misdemeanors do not typically require reporting but felonies do. If it was less than six months of time served, although you are required to divulge this on your application, you are not required to account for this time on your resume, in the same way. As previously mentioned, this can be easily explained as simple unemployment. If it was an excess of six months, you will need to fill the gap with an internship, volunteer activity or class preferably tied to your field of interest. This is even more important for this particular topic because you obviously want to start painting the picture that you are rehabilitated but that you are also serious about being productive. What better example than to show that you have accomplished something during/after this time? You can then explain accordingly in the interview as needed.

  • You were never employed: employers want you to believe that a lack of experience is not counted against you and in some cases, it is not but it is not the norm. Employers want to see that you have done something. Guess what fills any gap and impresses any employer? Internships! Volunteer activity! Classes! These things cure the common gap of employment.

Unless you fall into any of the three aforementioned categories, there’s no separation that cannot be explained. Be honest!

Catherine McNeil

Catherine McNeil has earned a Bachelor’s of Business Administration with a focus in Management from Robert Morris College and holds a Master of Arts in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She excels at new employee training, instruction, supervision and job knowledge in the areas of Customer Service, Leadership, and Administration. She has over fifteen years of experience and applied knowledge from management and leadership roles inside the Collections, Not for Profit, Real Estate and Construction arenas.



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