When confronting gaps in your employment history in an interview, don’t make the mistake that private investigator Pat Healey did in the film, “There’s Something About Mary.” Healy, paid to locate a beautiful girl from his client’s past, commits the ultimate faux pas of falling head over heels in love with her. Because Mary is way out of his league professionally, the gumshoe sets out to impress the woman with a phony persona. Painting himself as a humanitarian when he is, in reality, a self-serving PI, Pat’s house of cards comes crashing down when his achievements are revealed as blatant fabrications.
Holes in your employment can be plugged several ways. Lying is not one of them. However, there are ways of presenting the truth that can be used to your advantage. If the loss of a job left you insecure and all but paralyzed, so that some time passed before you began to seek work, tell the potential employer that you were carefully weighing your options and exploring other avenues of employment beyond your “comfort zone.” The ability to embrace change is an attribute that most employers appreciate.
If you filled your time between jobs with service to the community or assisting an elderly parent, resist the temptation to dismiss it as “nothing.” Be honest about these experiences, discussing them from the point of view of an employer searching for new talent. Chances are, you will be able to illuminate your analytical, organizational, and negotiating skills that are as valued in the workforce as their are in a humanitarian vein.
Perhaps, during your hiatus, you pursued training in new or upgraded software programs. This does not indicate your lack of skill; it demonstrates your willingness to work and learn. Moreover, your mastery of new applications honors employers’ needs for staff that can utilize current technology to enhance the efficiency and productivity of business operations.
To summarize, don’t be a Pat Healy. Be the prized asset that you truly are.
Similar Articles interviewing
- Thanking the Prospective Employer - March 5th, 2010
- Interviewee, Beware - February 5th, 2010
- The Consultant's Interview - December 30th, 2009
- Put Your Best Voice Forward: 10 Tips for Telephone Interviews - November 18th, 2009
- Interview Monkey Wrenches - November 6th, 2009