Gaps on your CV and how to explain them

Posted in: Advice, Applications, Tips & Hints

It is perfectly acceptable to have gaps in your CV. Just be aware that if you ignore them, the employer might assume you are hiding something shameful. Instead, go in with an open and honest attitude and be willing to provide an explanation.

Next, consider the reason for your gap and what you did during that time. The trick is to direct attention on what you did do rather than what you didn’t do. Here is some guidance on how you can go about this.

2. Bridge the gap

Keep in mind that the purpose of your CV is to snapshot the highlights of your career so far. Therefore, try not to use this limited space to dwell on your deficiencies. If it is a short gap you can explain it briefly in one sentence i.e. I took some time out to go travelling/devoted time to job-searching.

If you had a long “nothing period”, say 6 months and longer, ask yourself if that really was the case. Were you job-hunting, caring for someone, volunteering, undertaking any courses? Consider any self-improvement activities you did. Anything that shows you were moving forward, even at a glacial pace, is still a positive thing.Note: You can still include an unfinished degree. Draw out the knowledge and skills you gained during your time studying. This might be modules, projects, group work etc. Even if you dropped out, there will be something you learnt from the experience, even if it was just the realization that you’re better suited to another vocation.

2. Explain what needs explaining

If you were undergoing difficult personal circumstances such as a health problem, there is no need to feel pressured into explaining the ins and outs of this. You are not obliged to even disclose the condition. Be brief but also explain in a way that suggests you are now in a suitable condition to work. Put a positive spin on it with assurance that you are now in a good position to take on the role you are applying for.

3. Be prepared to expand on this in an interview

If your application is something the employers want to pursue, they might want to investigate the gap in your CV. Be prepared to be asked questions on this gap and keep in mind that the interviewer merely wants to eliminate any potential red flags. In this case, the purpose of your answer will be to reassure them.

Remember: Employers are humans too and they might have gaps on their own CV.




Posted in: Advice, Applications, Tips & Hints


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