It has been a while since you last worked and now it seems like the time that you have been unemployed is being held against you. How can you explain your employment gap so that it doesn’t raise a red flag with employers? Here are three things that you will need:
A Goal. In order to explain your employment gap, you need to clearly articulate your long term career goal. Where are you planning to be five years from now? Employers want to hire someone who knows where they are going.
A Story. Now that you have your goal, you need to explain how everything that you have done has brought you closer to it. This would include your work experience and the things that you’ve been doing while unemployed. Show the employer that even though you’re not employed, you are still working towards your goals. The employer needs to see that there has been one long, uninterrupted progression towards your goals and being unemployed only means that you pursue your goals differently.
Confidence. Being out of work can be incredibly damaging to your confidence. You begin to doubt your skills and the longer you are unemployed, the worse it gets. When you have an employment gap, you need to have (or fake) confidence more than ever before. You have to sell your goal and your story to the employer and if you don’t sound sure of yourself, they’ll never buy it.
Being unemployed is difficult enough; the last thing you need is an additional barrier. As it often is with job hunting, your success (or failure) depends on how well you present yourself. If you hold your head high and show them how every step that you’ve taken makes you an excellent candidate for the job, they will have no reason to doubt you.
(Written by: Karen Bivand)