How to: Explain a Job Gap on your CV or in an Interview

Job Gap

It can happen to the best of us; whether you have been made redundant, chosen to find a new career, been travelling or have another more specific reason to leave your place of work, at some point or another you will find yourself trying to explain any gaps in your employment either on your CV or in an interview. Wipe the sweat from your brow and remember a gap in your employment does not make you unemployable, the key is in your explanation!

Temporary work is a great opportunity

Many people will refuse a week or two of temporary work because it’s ‘not enough to put on a CV’ or because they’re ‘waiting to hear back about a recent interview’ but if you have been unemployed for 6 months (or more!), trust us when we say any experience is good experience. Not only will temporary work help build confidence in the workplace, but often it can lead to a permanent position! Even if the hourly rate is not as much as you would like, something is better than nothing, right? Give it a go, take a chance and appreciate the opportunity. When explaining temporary work on your CV, type the Agency you worked for as the Company and then explain an overview of the duties you carried out regardless of whether you temped for one Company consecutively or a few Companies over a period of time.

Maternity Leave or taking an extended career break to raise a family

What better reason to take time out of the workplace than to raise the next generation? Employers will know, understand and appreciate how important this is to a family and there is honestly little need to go into depth on your CV about your time off. If you were able to take some courses to keep up to date with your career then ensure you include the dates to demonstrate your eagerness and commitment to maintain and improve your employment skills.

Been travelling?

Going travelling is fast becoming one of the most sought after life-experience in this day and age and is considered a great way to develop both personal and professional skills. If you volunteered during your travels be sure to note this on your CV and explain your duties – whether it had any relation to your career is irrelevant, the fact that you kept yourself engaged during your travels will look great on your CV so try not to downplay your experience, be confident! It’s easy to forget that you are constantly learning when you live abroad, whether you are learning a new language, skill or style of working these are all important points to include when discussing this type of career gap in an interview or on your CV.

What if you haven’t done anything?

Generally it is considered good practice to remain busy during the space between jobs, whether that’s with temporary work, taking a class, learning a new skill or volunteering but what if you decide to take it easy for a few months before going back to work? This is not an uncommon occurrence and it is OK to need time to deal with redundancy or to try and figure out what you really want to do. The key to explaining this gap on your CV is to keep it short and sweet, be honest but don’t overdo your explanation or, equally, undermine yourself. It can often take a while to find a new job and employers will appreciate this.

How do you remain focused during a job gap?

We would always recommend you to take on some temporary work during your work-gap – aside from the obvious positives, if you are doing temporary work you will still be able to attend interviews, it is a great way to remain busy and pays a lot more than job seekers allowance! Other great ways to show you haven’t been idle is to take a course, learn a new skills, volunteer, start a blog or do some freelance work from home!

It can be daunting starting a job search again after some time out of the workplace, especially in such a fast moving society such as ours. Be confident in your abilities and do the best you can to hone your skills and show your dedication! Have you ever had to take time out? How did you cope and how easy or hard did you find it when you entered the working world again? We’d love to know!

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