How to Explain the Gaps in Your CV

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There are plenty of reasons why there may be gaps in your work history. You may have taken an extended period of time off work by choice or by necessity. Either way, there is a worry that gaps may put recruiters and hiring managers off. This, however, does not have to be the case.

There are lots of people who have gaps in their CV, but the key is to ensure you present these gaps in the right way. You may even be able to use them to your advantage.

Let’s address five common reasons why you may have gaps in your CV and how’s best to present them.

1. You lost your job

If you were let go from a previous job you may be worrying about how this looks to potential employers. When explaining yourself you don’t need to be embarrassed. It happens to plenty of people and your interviewer will have heard it all before.

Don’t badmouth your previous employer or boss. Instead, keep things positive and focus on what you achieved during your time at the company. You may have been laid off because of budget cuts and that’s ok to mention too.

2. You quit your job to go travelling

More and more people are taking time off work to explore the world and that shouldn’t be a negative thing for employers.

Talk about how your travelling helped you to develop personally, what skills you built and any paid or volunteer work you undertook along the way. You don’t want to talk about how you were fed up with work and wanted to go partying in Thailand instead. Ultimately, you want to show that you are still serious about your career and that travelling only helped you to develop skills and have experiences that will contribute to your future success.

3. You stopped working to study

Hopefully, you went off to study something that is relevant to your chosen career in which case this is one of the easier gaps to explain. Even if this isn’t the case, you can put a positive spin on your studies as they will certainly have required intelligence, dedication and hard work.

Explain why you wanted to get your additional training/qualifications and how you plan to use the knowledge and skills you’ve gained in the role you are interviewing for.

Don’t say that you couldn’t decide what you wanted to do with your life and career so just studied further so you didn’t have to get a job.

4. You took time off for health reasons

If you had to take time off for your health, your interviewer won’t expect you to go into painstaking detail about what your problems were. Prepare an explanation that is concise and that you feel comfortable talking about. Be honest but then focus on how you have recovered well and are ready to get stuck back into work.

5. You took time to care for a family member

Caring for others is a full-time job that requires a lot of skills. You should never feel like your decision to take care of a family member suggests that you don’t care as much about your career.

Let your interviewer know that you are now looking forward to recommitting yourself to your career. If you’ve been able to keep up to date with the industry while you’ve been off let them know about that.

Do not lie

It’s not a good idea to try and cover up gaps on your CV by lying. Employers want to hire honest employees and if your interviewer has any concerns it’s down to you to explain yourself well and reassure them that you are the right person for the job. If you’re confident in yourself, then your interviewer will have confidence in you too.

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