April 24, 2008

Ask the Recruiter: Dealing with gaps in employment

Dear bloggingforjobs,

I'm a single mom who is re-entering the workforce after taking 9 months off to care for my sick mother. My last job before that only lasted 6 months. How do I answer the question about my gaps in employment in an interview?

Thank you,

Cindy S.


Dear Cindy,

It is fairly common for most people to have gaps in employment especially in this day and age with working families often serving as caregivers to their young children and older parents at the same time. I recommend that you be honest. Tell them that you took off work to take care of your sick mother and let the prospective employer know that everything is taken care of and you are eager to begin working again. Don't dwell on the subject and your prospective employer will likely do the same.

Secondly, being a parent, let alone a single mother is a full-time job in itself. As a parent, you have to juggle multiple schedules and use time management as well as motivating and influencing others daily. I'm sure that during your time off, you might have organized a fundraising drive for your son/daughter's local scout troop or served as a camp counselor or leader in your church or other organization. These are all great skills and experiences that employers need to hear about. Shout these out the rooftops!

Best of luck in your search,