Another Source

What’s the best way to approach a career gap?

Dec 2022

Evelyn Kwong

Is it true that companies prefer to hire people who have been steadily employed without career gaps?

The answer may surprise you – more employers are shifting away from this mindset. To help explain this, consider that historically, previous generations of workers would typically stay with one company for much of their career. However, events from the past few years challenged the status quo. Many people experienced layoffs. Others took time away to care for sick family members. Still others participated in the Great Resignation to seek professional growth opportunities or greater flexibility (the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on this phenomenon in July 2022). Hiring managers are thus more understanding that a career gap could be due to family and personal obligations. 

What if, though, there’s still some stigma surrounding that period between one job and the next? How should you approach the subject of a career gap if it comes up during an interview? Here are a few lessons Another Source has gleaned from our conversations with various job seekers.  

Post-2020, hiring managers are more open to considering candidates with employment gaps.

They recognize that a pause could mean many things: burnout, a lack of alignment with company values, or other personal needs. Attitudes in the workplace are generally shifting to acknowledge that employees are individuals who at times need additional support or accommodations, including flexibility in scheduling and/or location.  

Similarly, years of experience should not be overlooked when considering the requirements of the new role.

Perhaps during a career gap, you pursued one of your passions and learned new ways to introduce it into your day-to-day work. Do your skills from a previous role translate into the line of work you would like to transition to? Certifications, volunteering, and team building are great aspects to mention in an interview. 

A career gap can indicate a culture gap.

For the majority of those who voluntarily left their positions in 2021, the reason was often that there was a mismatch between the culture of the company and their ideal vision. Millennials and Gen Z, who will make up the majority of the workforce come 2025, are particularly driven by work that is purposeful or gives back to the community. Employers have the responsibility of emphasizing healthy boundaries and work environments to recruit, interview, and retain the best people for their positions. 

Recruiters are a great resource if you have any questions about a career gap!

It’s not always easy to bring up a career gap if you are concerned that it could affect your job application. When in doubt, you may find it helpful to consult with a recruiter – they are the liaison between you and the hiring team. We know that everyone’s story is unique, so if you ever have any specific questions about interviewing, please fill out our contact form or reach out to us at Jobs@AnotherSource.com 

Most importantly, remember that a career gap will not necessarily count against you in today’s hiring landscape. You want to work for a company that will recognize your achievements, both on and off the clock, so be confident in what skills or mindsets you learned in-between jobs. There are also many resources that can teach you how to communicate about an employment gap – watch this helpful video from Indeed or this guide from Zety. 

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