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Returning to Work After a Gap in Employment

If you found yourself unemployed within the last year & a half, you are not alone. 20 million people were laid off in the first couple of months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people are just beginning to get back to work now. The good news is that most employers know and understand the struggle the workforce went through the past couple of years because they have been through the same struggles.

But diving back into the workplace can be intimidating after taking some time away. Here are several tips to help explain the gap in employment during an interview, and several tips on adjusting back to working conditions in this new post-COVID world.

Be Honest and Upfront About Your History

While it can be difficult to sugar coat job loss to a prospective employer, honesty is always the best policy. This is also true for lack of experience and an employment gap. Tell interviewers what happened as objectively and honestly as you can while still remaining diplomatic of others involved. There are hundreds of reasons people take a break, and most employers recognize this.

An interviewer is learning about and evaluating your response to difficult situations as much as they are interested in your documented employment history. The worst thing you can do is lie. Any lies could potentially be found out through background checks and reference checks and are reasonable cause for being let go.

Stay Positive When Talking About Past Experiences

Rather than blaming previous employers or bad-mouthing coworkers when explaining a job loss to a prospective employer, keep your explanation simple and to the point. Focus on the facts and try your best not to place blame. Your attitude and professionalism is as important as your skillset in an interview, so take ownership of how to talk about your past experiences.

Describe What You Learned and How You Grew from the Experiences

Rather than dreading the explanation of a career gap in a job interview, you should appreciate the opportunity to describe what you learned from the experience. What did you do with your time? How did you work to stay relevant in the industry? What passion projects did you take on? What responsibilities did you manage? If you are in the process of changing careers, talk about what experiences prepared you for this new role you are applying for? What successes and accomplishments outside of past job titles make you capable of succeeding in the new job? An interview is the best place to address these topics directly, so don’t shy away from a career gap. They are often the most valuable talking points you can leverage in an interview.


If your new job doesn’t work out, or you’re still looking for the right fit, check-in with Bergman Brothers! We can help you find what works for you.