What is the best way to explain career gaps on your CV?
Most of us have career gaps of some kind, whether they’re between jobs or after completing a qualification. However employers tend to shy away from candidates with unexplained gaps in their CV, so it’s important to be upfront and make any gap sound as positive as possible. Failure to explain any significant career gaps could lead employers to come to their own conclusions, often resulting in your CV landing in the bin.
Are there any gaps I can ignore?
As a rule employers will want to know about any recent gaps in your CV, or any gaps of considerable length. This means for example, if you had a couple of month’s gap 5 years ago it doesn’t deserve a special mention, but if it was 6 months ago then you should offer an explanation.
In an attempt to avoid any such gaps being noticed, a professional CV writing service will only give the years of employment in your CV rather than the exact dates.
Gaps can add value to your application
In some cases a gap in your employment can add value to your CV by broadening your mind or helping you to learn valuable skills. If you feel a gap will help your application stand out to recruiters then it’s always worth mentioning. Some examples such as travelling or charity work can demonstrate independence and cultural awareness, both of which are highly valued by employers. Similarly if you used a gap from work to gain additional qualifications this can also enhance your CV.
Maternity and paternity leave
After having children many parents opt to take time out to spend with their family by either giving up work altogether or going part time. A move like this should be mentioned in your CV and cover letter, stressing that you’re now ready to return to work and have all the necessary childcare arrangements in place.
Unemployment isn’t something you should be ashamed of when writing your CV. Recruiters understand more than most how tough it is to find work, so don’t feel as if you need to leave this time off your CV. The key as always is to be positive, if it’s taken a while for you to find work try some voluntary work to add value to your CV, or complete an additional qualification. Anything that shows initiative and determination to better your circumstances will go down well with recruiters.
Make it clear that you’ve been proactive in your job search and are ready to start work at the employer’s earliest convenience. If you’ve been unemployed due to ill health it’s worth mentioning in your cover letter that the situation is now resolved and you’re looking forward to returning to the workplace.
Extending employment dates
Don’t be tempted to extend the dates of your previous jobs to cover up any gaps. If you’re lucky enough to be made an offer your previous employer will be contacted for a reference. Showing you’ve lied at this early stage will only work against you, and many employers will simply withdraw their offer. Honesty is always the best policy.