How to explain a job gap if you spent your time off doing NOTHING

Maybe the post-uni job pressure was too much, you tried to take a gap-year and then realised it was too expensive to literally go anywhere but Brighton for the weekend. Alternatively, you might have taken a personal job gap if the stress of an old job got too much.

No matter what, your empty job gap will probably come into question during a job interview. But don’t panic, here’s a fool-proof guide to explain even the most unproductive job gap according to Stacey Gawronski writing for The Muse.

Everyone knows a few people who, instead of getting a part-time job, writing for a blog, freelancing or volunteering, is currently racking up hundreds of hours of Netflix experience – but here’s the thing, they’ve eventually got to get jobs and they’re not alone.

It’s far more common than you’d think since not everyone has the amenities and motivation of the go-getting, straight-to-employment graduates or young professionals in between jobs.

Speaking to career columnist Caris Thetford, The Muse found the secret of how to spin your idle periods to employers: “Maybe you think you should have been more productive during your gap, but unless you literally just sat around watching all of the series available for free on Amazon Prime, you probably did something during your break that you can use to your advantage”

The best thing you can do is: “tell your potential employer an edited version of your employment gap”.

Operate a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy with your interviewers. The likelihood is that they’re not telling you everything about the job you’re going for so why tell them that you once made one Chinese takeaway last for four meals?

Rather than focus on your accomplishments in your panicked introduction, highlight the steps you took to lead you into the interviewing room. As Caris says: “Bottom line: You can paint an honest picture of yourself without making the entirety of your personal life a near-stranger’s business. The job gap is never really unaccounted for if you can find a way to positively account for your time.”

What now?