“How do I explain gaps in employment and being in school for over a decade without sounding like I don't have my stuff together.”
Today, I’m answering a reader question. Lenishka emailed and asked, “How do I explain gaps in employment and being in school for over a decade without sounding like I don't have my stuff together.” She explained that she has started a family and earned a couple degrees in the past 14 years, but is questioning how to explain gaps in employment.
First, I’m an honesty is the best policy kind of gal. So, whenever I get questions regarding “what should I say/tell” usually the designer will give me some backstory and explain the situation and then ask me how they should convey that info to others. And most of the time, I just tell them to share with whomever what they shared with me. Truth and honesty will always win in my book.
And this question is no different, I believe Lenishka should share with potential employers the truth of her journey. It’s more about the delivery and highlighting skills rather than the actual gaps in employment.
By this I mean that if she can share her journey in a matter-of-fact and straightforward way, directing the conversation toward the skills she’s obtained during that time as well as demonstrating that the skills are current and sharp, it’s unlikely that employers will want to go back and deliberate on the gaps and the why of the gaps.
I think gaps in employment is a concern for employers because they want someone who is committed, has current skills, current industry knowledge, and isn’t going to bail. As long as you can demonstrate this to them, your gaps in employment, then it shouldn’t matter.
In short: Be honest, straightforward, stick to the facts, avoid over-explaining and emotional justifications. Showcase your relevant skills and job proficiency.