How to Explain Unemployment Gaps & Not Scare Employers

Andrea Barger |
Andrea is our head of PR at Snagajob, where she’s focused on telling the world how we help hourly workers and employers. Her first hourly job was as a lifeguard.
Categories: Interviewing

Today we are going to go over how to explain employment gaps. Now these can be scary, especially if you are asked about your employment history in a job interview. Here are the most common reasons we see for employment gaps:

“I've been a stay-at-home mom (or dad) for the past few years. How should I explain this to an employer?”

“I had to leave my last job four years ago because of some medical issues. What will employers think about that?”

“Five years ago, I had to stop working to take care of my mom, who had gotten pretty sick. I'm ready to get back to work. What do I say?”

Keep in mind that it's okay to have gaps in your employment history and that employers are used to seeing them. You're not the first person who has had to take time off work, and you won't be the last.

You want to explain the situation without going into too much detail. Employers don't need to hear specifics on your medical issues or what your mom was going through when you had to take care of her. They are mainly concerned about what you have been up to. You really want to show that you've been busy and how your experience will help you be a valuable employee. Be sure to include any volunteer work you have done during that time.

“I have been working as a stay at home mom for the past two years. During that time, I have really perfected my time management and organizational skills. In addition, I have been volunteering at a local food bank where I’ve overseen and coordinated several food drives.”

“I had to leave my job a few years ago to deal with some unexpected medical issues that came up. Everything has been resolved and I am excited to get back to work. During that time, I took a few classes at the library to brush up on my computer skills.”

“About five years ago I needed to leave my job to act as a caregiver to a sick family member. During that time, I really found my passion in helping others, which is why I'm so excited about this opportunity to work for your company.”

So, while you may think that having a gap on your resume is a bad thing, we hope this video has helped change your mind. In fact, many employers will admire your honesty and the activities you were doing while you were taking some time off.