Gap in your CV – what to do?

by | 03.02.20

A gap in your employment may be a period of months when you have found it difficult to find the right job or have been travelling, a huge gap in your employment could have been because you have raised a family or have returned to education. Whatever the reason for the gap on your CV the one thing you must always do is explain it, if you don’t there is a good chance your application for a job will be immediately rejected. Here are some tips to help you cover or explain gaps:

Explain on your cover letter

Smart candidates explain employment gaps in a cover letter they send with their CV. This Is an up-front method and leads employers to consider you to be an honest and direct individual who likes to put all their cards on the table.

Use years not months on your CV

Candidates often use years of employment, rather than years and months, to cover up short employment gaps. This method very often will result in you getting an interview where you will be able to explain in person why you were not working during a specific period.

Reverse your CV

Most CVs start with the last job first and then go backwards, if the gap on your CV is recent it’s a good idea to start at the beginning of your career and go forward, that way hopefully you will have hooked the potential employer before they realise you haven’t worked recently.

Approach a past employer

Talk to a previous employer and ask if you can return on a part-time or voluntary basis, this will give you current experience to go on your CV and make you far more desirable to any new employer.

Network with ex- colleagues

An old colleague may be able to organise some freelance, voluntary or temporary employment for you with their current employer thereby giving you up-to-date experience to put on your CV, again this makes you much more attractive as a job seeker.

Be honest

If you have taken ten years out of the workplace to raise your kids – good on you – it’s not something to be ashamed of, explain this on your CV but reassure the employer that you don’t have any childcare issues and are revving up to return to work.

Explain your dreams

If it has always been a lifelong ambition to take a break from the workplace explain this on your CV, it’s also a good idea to say how you have benefitted from this experience and grown as an individual making you far more attractive in the workplace.

Sell the benefit of education

If you have taken time out from the workplace to improve your education or to study a specific specialist subject in order to work in a particular area, sell this on your CV, tell a potential employer how they can benefit from the knowledge you have obtained from your studies.

Do voluntary work

Challenging volunteer work can help fill gaps in your CV whether you return to your original career or create a career change. Do invest time in determining what kind of voluntary work will be the most strategic for your long-term career goals then go for it.

Keep your CV up to date

Don’t just use the same old CV, look at it regularly and update it with any new skills or experience you have gained during your time away from the workplace. Also don’t forget about any new hobbies or interests you may have developed whilst not working, it all makes you more interesting.

Create a business of your own

Think creatively. If you are a mum/dad at home spending time with your young family, why not start a little business. If you are a good cook why not provide catering services for events, what about DIY for others if you are good at this type of work, there is also eBay, selling your own unused or outgrown items can make you money and these are all good things to have on your CV. 

Many people choose to leave the workplace for periods of time and the reasons vary from individual to individual, some people are unlucky when looking for a new job and find they are unemployed for longer than expected, but gaps in your employment need not be considered negative provided you can explain it well. Plus, it is always a good idea, unless you are travelling, if you are at home to keep busy, do something rather than nothing, it looks much better on your CV and makes you more attractive to a future employer.

Happy job search.