Life happens so once you hit a certain age, you are likely to have a gap or a side-step in your cv. This gap has the very bad habit of sticking to you throughout your career.
It had happened to the candidate I interviewed yesterday. His response was picture perfect.
He gave a clear description of what happened, a brief explanation of his own opinion on the dismissal and the effect it had on his career choices and finally his lessons learned. He covered this with a genuine authenticity. Needless to say, he aced the interview.
So here are a few tips as to how you can use the gap in your career to your advantage.
Too often, I meet candidates who try to disguise the gap by giving the dates of employment in years rather than months. Others fumble through by telling about some extended project they were working on. As I am not easily fooled, it is quite likely that I will start probing anyway. So instead of trying to hide it, be open about it and use it as an opportunity to demonstrate your integrity and honesty. After all, actions speak louder than words and disguising your career gap will indicate to future employers that you might also be disguising other things.
Prepare your story…
Answering questions about any period of unemployment can be very uncomfortable, regardless of it being your own choice or you were forced to take a break. And yet, in every interview, even years later, the question as to why there is a gap in your resume will pop up. It helps to prepare a short and compelling story that you can use during interviews. Focus on the facts rather than getting emotional. Be concise, you are asked for an explanation, not a life story. When you start to rattle, you give the impression that there is something that you are not sharing.
Use your explanation to show that you are structured, that you are not led by your emotions and that you are focused.
You are not the only one with a gap in your career. Although you might have a sense of shame, especially if it happened in the not so distant past, there is no need for that. Chances are that the person at the other side of the table has been in a similar situation.
Show that you have learned from the experience and that the gap in your career has contributed to your personality and will also contribute to your value as a future team member.
So, having a gap in your career is one thing, the true key to success is how you answer the question. Being prepared for whatever comes your way and having confidence in the skills you’ve attained during that break can go a long way to bridging the gap with poise and professionalism.
I look forward to hearing from you,
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