career break

Career Break - A Gap In Your Employment

How to talk about a gap in your employment - explain your career break

I want to talk about handling a gap in your employment

Many people get weird and afraid about how they explain their career break or a gap in their employment history

Sometimes you must take time off

I've had clients who've taken time off to care for elderly parents

They’ve been the only child or the primary carer for their parents, so they’ve put their career on hold while they’ve looked after their family, that’s simply what life is about

Some people take time off to travel for a while

The days of waiting for retirement for the ‘big trip’ are fading away - why wait?

The chances of having a single career, with no gap in your employment, with one company – well – that’s pretty much history 

Some people take time off to try a new business

It’s never been easier to start your own side gig and while sometimes it won’t work out – there’s plenty of examples where it’s worked out spectacularly well – the worst case is you’ve learnt a few new skills, perhaps made some money on the way, and you’re ready to try again or apply your new found skills to your current job

Or they own a small business only to find that they want to get back into the stability of a steady paying job?

Starting your own business can be a challenge that not everyone is willing, or able, to take on and it’s an entirely different mindset from a steady pay check career – suddenly you’re not the one ‘managing’ the money – you’re the one entirely responsible for ‘making’ the money – and many people never make that transition

Some people take time off to study - to upgrade their skills full time and set up their life and career for even greater success 

The best way to answer this question, when you get it in an interview is to be honest

Explain the gap by saying - Look, I took time off to care for my elderly parents, or I took time off to study – that’s it, that’s all you need to say

If you get more questions about your time out, your career break – and you are comfortable to share – the do so as more than likely your interviewer’s considering a career break and is curious how you did it

An even better way to get this situation handled is to have it explained on your resume before you even get to the interview

Say for example you had a three-year career break between roles - I had a client who took time off in 2016, and didn't go back to the workforce until 2018 - so there was a three year gap in his employment, and I said, simply be honest on your resume, say career break

And in brackets, you can put caring for elderly parents, home renovation projects, travel for two years, study MBA or Masters or whatever it was that you decided to do

If you did extra studies during that time, be honest about the gap

Explain the career break on your resume because if you put a quick and short explanation (in brackets or in italics or whatever) on your resume, then the question is unlikely to even come up because you've already answered it - right?

It's only if you have a gap, an unexplained gap on the resume that you’re likely to get that question in an interview

So get that answered before you even get to interview stage

And it's really easy to do on both your resume and your LinkedIn profile

Put career break and in brackets, whether it was study, travel, caring for parents, whatever the reasons, put it in, be honest

It's always the best way to handle any questions on the hiring person's mind