How to Explain Gaps in Employment Due to Disability


The above is a picture of a man in a wheelchair sitting at his desk in his cubicle.

How to Explain Gaps in Employment Due to Disability

6.2 million Americans are currently unemployed. Of that number, 1.3 million have been without a job for over six months. 

That kind of statistic suggests that there is a significant number of job applicants who have employment gaps in their resume.

A gap in employment is a source of concern to any recruiter or employer. This is because it might suggest non-commitment on the candidate’s part.

This is one reason why employers check for a progressive path between education and work or between jobs.

Nonetheless, there are a lot of reasons why one may stay unemployed for a prolonged period. One of the most justifiable cases is due to disability.

However, this brings another issue. A study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the employment-population ratio of people with disabilities was 19.1 percent while that of people without a disability was 65.9 percent.

The implication is that people with disabilities have a difficult time getting jobs.

Therefore, if your employment gap was due to a disability, it is necessary to know how to carry yourself during your interview.

This article will give you tips on how to explain gaps in employment due to disability.

The Reality About Disability-Related Employment Gaps

Many people are not comfortable discussing their medical issues with strangers. Nevertheless, it is vital to put things into perspective if you are to overcome these concerns.

If you are to put your hiring manager or employer at ease, you will need to explain that time away from work.

How to Explain Gaps in Employment Due to Disability

The following are tips that will help you explain to your prospective employer how your disability prevented you from working.

1. Do Not Panic

Understandably, you are fearful that your extended time off of work can jeopardize your efforts to secure employment.

However, panicking will show uncertainty on your part and this might make the hiring party feel a little unsure, as well.

Moreover, it is worth noting that employers today are more accustomed to seeing work gaps than in the past. This is because a few decades ago, it was commonplace for a person to work one job their entire life.

That is no longer the case today.

As such, an employer today is more than likely to empathize with your plight.

Therefore, derive confidence from your expertise and experience as that is what is most important.

2. Do Not Overdo Your Explanation

Keep the cause of the gap short, simple, and matter-of-factly as possible.

Therefore, do not delve into details regarding the illness, injury, or accident. Rather, just acknowledge that there was a gap and give a direct explanation as to why you needed to take time off.

3. Do Not Portray That Time off as a Weakness

Focus on your strengths. Make it evident to the recruiter or employer that your disability does not impede your performance in any way.

By focusing on your skills and achievements, you will ease any concerns that the employer might have.

 4. Mention What You Did During the Gap

If there were new skills or vocations you picked up during that period, it is important to mention them.

This shows that you did not rest on your laurels. This is why disabled people are encouraged to look into jobs they can do from home. Even if such a job may not relate to the position you are applying for, it will account for your gap.

5. Emphasize Your Value

A good way of navigating through the murky waters of employment gaps is by diverting the conversation to why you are there for the interview in the first place.

Naturally, you have done your research on the company and have a compelling reason to why you are a good fit.

Therefore, you should focus on the attributes you possess that make you the ideal candidate for the position. That should be the centerpiece of your pitch.

Offer concrete examples and experiences on how your strengths have brought value to your previous employers. In essence, you should create a narrative showing why the company needs you.

By making your strengths the focal point of discussion, your employment gap will no longer be a pressing issue.

Demonstrate your proficiency and aptness when making the job application Thus, be sure to avoid these common resume mistakes that a lot of disabled veterans tend to commit.

6. Dispel Doubts

Understandably, most employers are usually a bit hesitant to employ a disabled person with reasons ranging from insurance to doubts regarding proficiency.

Most employers also tend to handle disabled people with caution to prevent potential lawsuits. The Americans with Disabilities Act does not permit an employer to ask about a disability.

To prevent such doubts from influencing their hiring decision, offer to answer any lingering questions that they might have, and be prepared to answer. This reassurance will go a long way in helping you secure the position.

Dealing with Disability-Related Employment Gaps

Employment gaps do not look pretty on your resume. However, there are always things you can do to help your situation.

Disability-related gaps, in particular, are easily explainable. Employers and hiring managers are only looking to know that you are still proficient at your job.

This is why it is important to stay on top of the latest developments in your field during your time away.

Additionally, consider picking up new skills (even soft ones help) that will complement your current ones. This way, your disability or time away will not be much of a factor during the hiring process.

Consider utilizing the above tips if you are thinking about how to explain gaps in employment due to disability.

Are you a disabled person looking for work? disABLEDperson Inc. is a charitable organization that has been working to help veterans with disabilities to secure employment for over 15 years.

We not only help you look for a job but also provide you with informational resources to help prepare you for your application. Are you in need of help? Contact us today and we will be there for you.