"Bring those issues up yourself so you can describe it as reassuringly as you can within the bounds of honesty," said Nemko. If you, say, don't have a bachelor's degree when the job description asked for one, explain why you chose to forego the high cost of college and learn your skills by other means, Nemko said. Highlight the work experience, including any internships or volunteer positions, that make you qualified for the role they're hoping to fill.
You can handle the situation similarly if you have any gaps in your work history. Whether your time off was for personal reasons or due to difficulty finding a job after a layoff, explain what you did during your time away from the workforce and how you improved your skills or grew your experience during the break. "No matter the reason, be upfront when asked about your employment gap, but answer with eloquence," said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer for CareerBuilder. "Employers want to hear you've treated your time off as a period of self-reflection."
Even with more sensitive topics, speaking the truth is your best option, Nemko said. For example, if you've been fired numerous times, let's say due to anger issues and losing your temper at work, when you're ready to get back on track with your career, you should be candid about your history.