An interview is your time to shine once your resume has made it to the top of the hiring pile. You can dress to impress, look your interviewer in the eye and have your references ready, but if you stumble
when explaining these surprising resume blind-spots, your chances to return for a follow-up interview may be affected. We’ve asked job experts about how to sharpen your skills and be prepared to answer these resume blind-spots.
Be honest but concise
There’s a resume gap between jobs, so be prepared to be asked about this. Honesty is the best policy, so address the gap truthfully, but do it concisely. “When it comes to resume gaps, the problem with them is that your potential employer doesn’t know why the gap happened,” explains Tony Arevalo, owner, and co-founder of Carsurance where he’s in charge of screening and recruiting employees. “Answer honestly what you’ve been doing during that time, and add what value this experience brought that you can use at your new job.” It’s about how you spin it, he says, but he states to keep the explanation on point and succinct. “Don’t go too far with explanation, but don’t exaggerate or make up stories either,” Arevalo adds.
Use the “job-seeking” card
If your job gap spans several months, spin this break in employment to make it seem like you’ve been waiting for the right opportunity and that really want to make your career work. “A job-seeking explanation will cover you for as long as six months of a gap in your resume,” explains Arevalo. “You can let your employer know that you spent time pursuing a job that you’re genuinely interested in, determined not to make compromises with your career.”
Focus on the positive regarding job switches
Spin the job-hopping resume blind-spot as a positive and tell your interviewer what you’ve gained along the way. “When your employer asks about frequent job changes, you can explain how you wanted a faster track for your personal development,” continues Arevalo. “Again, tell them all the value you picked up along the way.”
Realize gaps on resumes are common
Human resources managers know that gaps occur due to layoffs, family medical issues, travel, school, and business startups that don't go as planned, says Laura Handrick, careers and workplace analyst, with FitSmallBusiness.com. “If you’ve gotten to the point that they’ve asked about the gap; you’re already halfway there,” she says. “What they want to know is what did you do, and what did you learn from it? They also want to know if you’re self-aware and honest.”
Discuss how employment shifts have helped you learn
Maybe you’ve tried to open a business and failed—but learned so much—about financing, managing employees, managing inventory, serving customers or marketing. Handrick says to tell the hiring manager what you’ve learned. “Maybe you’ve taken a gap year to travel the world and increase your cultural awareness. Maybe your time off was to care for a new child. Trying to cover up the gap will cause you to appear dishonest,” she adds. “Instead, address the gap and let the recruiter or hiring manager know what you learned about yourself and any experiences you gained during the process."