Gaps in your CV are never ideal. But there are plenty of perfectly good and justifiable reasons for career breaks! If you’re searching for a new role and have found yourself faced with a problematic gap in your past experience, don’t be disheartened. Many employers will simply be looking for an explanation for the gap, before moving on to focus on whether or not you could be the right person for the job.
A CV gap shouldn’t stop you from landing the role you’re searching for. It’s just a case of knowing how to tackle the issue. Take a look at our top tips for explaining a gap in your CV, and find out what you need to know to discuss a CV gap professionally, and with confidence.
1. Be Honest
A career break following redundancy can be awkward to explain, but it’s far better to face the issue head on than try to avoid it. Employers are likely to notice any significant recent gaps in your CV, and if this happens we always recommend honestly as the best policy.
Employers may be more forgiving than you expect. After all, it’s not always easy to land a new role that suits your skills following a job loss. But if you try to mislead an employer, or you’re vague and defensive about any gaps in your CV, you can guarantee that their suspicions will be raised and they’ll be less likely to consider you for a role.
2. Use Your Time Wisely
Sometimes CV gaps can’t be avoided. But there are always options open to you, even if you’re not able to find suitable employment immediately.
So, if you find yourself between jobs and you’re worried about how this might look to a future employer, be proactive. Think about how best to use your time, and turn those empty days into a potential advantage for the future.
Consider courses, volunteer work or any other activities likely to provide experience that could be relevant for you. Not only will you be using your time well and improving your existing skills, you’ll also make it much easier for your future self to explain away any gaps in your CV at interview.
3. Focus on Your Strengths
Whilst it’s always a good idea to be open and honest about gaps in your CV, it’s worth remembering that you’re unlikely to be required to go into huge amounts of detail.
If you’ve mentioned a gap and your interviewer hasn’t followed up with any more questions, then feel free to move on to more positive points. Instead of concentrating on what went wrong, turn the focus of the conversation to your strengths, and the attention of your interviewer will soon shift in the right direction.
4. Be Prepared to Elaborate on the gaps in your CV
There’s no denying the fact that some interviews can be grueling! If you’ve set your sights on a high-profile role with significant responsibility, then you may well face extensive questioning on any gaps in your CV. This isn’t necessarily the end of the world, though. It just might mean a little more time spent preparing to ace that interview.
If you’re expecting your interviewer to want to know all the details on your career break, then you’ll need to work hard in the run-up to the meeting. Plan what you’re going to say, and think of a few answers to questions that may come up. If you know how you’ll approach the interviewer’s questions, and you’ve already decided what you’d like to say, then you’ll find it far less daunting if you do face more thorough questioning at the interview stage.
A gap in your CV shouldn’t thwart your career plans, and it doesn’t have to get in the way of your future. Be direct when you approach the topic, and make sure you’re prepared to answer questions frankly and honestly. If you’re able to speak confidently about the reasons for any gaps then you should have no trouble turning a problematic CV gap into a positive talking point that gets the interviewer on your side.