Explaining time off

Dear Evil HR Lady,

I left my previous job at the end of December, 29th to be precise. It was a one year renewable contract which I did not renew with my company. Basically, I had a bad boss under whom i did not see any growth and also the hike they gave me was peanuts. Plus I was overworked. A lot. Our team initially had 5 techs which was cut down to 2 due to budget constraints. So all the work came upon me usually at the end of the day.

The thing is I thought i will take a month off and start looking for a job after that hiatus. In the meantime thought I would give some certifications. But my dad fell ill in mid feb. And somebody was required to attend to him in the hospital as well as at home later on. Now that he has recovered I am starting the job hunt.

A gap of four months!

My question is how do I present my case when this topic of the gap comes up?

4 months isn’t a big deal in today’s job market. But, I would say “My contract ended” not “I chose not to renew my contact.” It’s probably not necessary to mention taking care of your father, as people won’t be shocked that you’ve been out for 4 months, but again, that’s a perfectly logical thing to do.

The bigger question is what were you planning to say before your dad got sick? Because that’s the real reason you’re unemployed. I rarely advocate leaving a job without a new one lined up, but don’t know the terms of your contract–if renewing would have meant you couldn’t quit without notice then it may have made sense to do what you did.

Good luck on the job hunt.

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