Ways to Explain a Gap in Your CV
With the ever-changing world we live in, employers may expect to see more employment discontinuity in CVs than in previous years. If you are one of those people who do have a blank period, do not try to hide it from prospective employers. You may worry about it hindering your employment chances, but by addressing it openly, you still have as much of a chance to get shortlisted as anyone else. There are many reasons why people may experience a gap in their CV, so we have narrowed down some common causes to help you explain to them the best way you can.
Explaining the Gap
Many employers may ask for a cover letter alongside your CV. Even if they do not state the need for one, a cover letter is a perfect platform to give your explanation on why there is a break in your employment history. Before we suggest some of the causes, you must first know how to explain the gap. Ensure you have a clear structure:
· Start with a quick summary of why you have a gap
· Explain what you did in that time
· Detail why going back into work was/is the right decision for you
Whatever your reason(s) for having time away from employment is, always be honest with the employer. Be brief with your description, there is no need to give a lengthy account and depending on your reason you may not want to. Remain positive and use optimistic language. Even if the gap was not your choice, the employer will be more interested in how you utilised it to increase your skill and/or experience. Try not to focus too much on your period of unemployment and instead explain what you have learnt and how you can use that to apply it to the role at hand. Keeping enthusiastic is key and shows the employer you deserve a chance like all the other candidates.
Reasons for a Gap
· Travelling – With life expectancies increasing and talk of travel and exploration being more heavily encouraged, travelling has definitely become a major reason for having a gap in employment. Draw on your experiences from travelling and explain how it has taught you valuable life lessons. Focus on the cultural impact it has made on your life and different perspectives learnt. Ensure you describe the whole experience in a way where it has enhanced your life, as opposed to saying you just wanted a break from work.
· Family commitments – Many of us have those. This could be caring for a relative or having children of your own. Employers are respectful of your privacy and understand you may not want to divulge into exact details, however, it is important, to be honest. If you were on maternity leave, explain that you have organised an appropriate arrangement that allows you to come back to work. If you were caring for a sick relative, you do not have to give details on their illness. Emphasise that they are now either fully recovered or you have found permanent alternative care for them and therefore able to return to the workforce.
· Sickness – Again, you do not have to give details about your sickness. If able to, did you use your time to improve on yourself? If you can give examples of how you have learnt a new skill or kept up with the industry then include this and explain that now you are in good shape, this is the perfect role for you.
· Redundancy/job searching – Unfortunately, some of you may have been made redundant from previous employment or struggled to find work after a temporary placement. In this case, explain the reasoning behind why the company had to dismiss you but as previously mentioned, remain positive. Demonstrate that you have been proactive in your searches and perhaps the reason you have not settled yet is because you are holding out for the perfect position.
To sum up, honesty is the best policy. Time is relative and a few months out of a few years may not flag up to some employers, but as long as you address these gaps early on then you display good communication from the start. Once you exhibit you have been proactive and productive in your gaps then employers should not see an issue.
ABL Recruitment team