How to avoid the kiss of death when addressing employment gaps on your CV
Ever been tempted to lie on your CV? To blur the dates or get a bit too creative with the description of your work experience? Don’t do it! Ever! Lie at your peril for you will be discovered and your application promptly binned.
While employment gaps are one of the most frequent dishonesty triggers among job hunters, a recent Forbes article, shows this to be completely counter-productive. The author proposes five positive ways that candidates can address such gaps without jeopardising their chances of success:
- Be honest about your employment gap
Whatever the reason for your career break – redundancy, a gap year to travel the world, or a decision to be a stay-at-home parent – be honest about it. If you lie or try to hide it, recruiters will wonder what else you may be withholding.
- Fill the gap productively
Outside taking time off to travel or care for family members, you’ll need to explain how you used your time productively, e.g., volunteering, taking courses, getting certifications and attending virtual events. Highlight all those experiences on your CV.
- Provide context in a cover letter or interview
Use your cover letter to explain the reasons for your employment gap. Be honest and concise. You’ll have the opportunity to go into detail at interview. If you’re making a career change, your cover letter is the ideal place to explain how your skills and experience translate to the new role.
- Consider a different CV format
If you’ve got a lot of employment gaps, consider adopting a hybrid format. Feature a functional summary of qualifications and competencies in the top half of your CV, following on with a reverse chronological list of your work experience. Remove jobs from your employment history if they lasted less than three months.
- Remain optimistic
Having an employment gap isn’t a deal-breaker. Its bi-product, an erosion to your self-confidence, however, can be. So focus on highlighting your accomplishments, skills and experience, and be positive in your general outlook and in how you justify your employment gap specifically. Practice explaining your reasons so that you feel comfortable and confident at interview.
The author of this article also reminds us that the mighty job interview is a two-way process. You are probing, prodding and testing to see if there’s a good match between you, the role and the company every bit as much as the hiring manager. If your honest explanation for any employment gaps is results in a rejection, then this opportunity was not right for you.
ABL, your trusted employment partner, will help you to identify the roles and companies that
are the right fit for you so pick up the phone and let us do the legwork for you!