CV Improvement Tips, Job Search Tips

How To Effectively Explain Gaps In CV: A Guide for Optimization

Written by mrafeeq · 5 min read >
Mind the Employment Gap
Mind the Employment Gap

Ever been faced with the dreaded question from a potential employer about why you have gaps in your CV? It’s a tricky question to answer, but this blog post will give you some tips on effectively explaining these gaps positively.
The key is that while you may not have had any jobs then, you were still using this time wisely by continuing or beginning your education. You can also use these gaps to discuss what skills/experiences were gained during that time.

There could be many reasons you decide to take time out of work. However, no matter the reason, maybe you need to know how to address and explain the gaps in your CV. This can be challenging and even result in you missing the perfect job.

Worry not! Below you will find a few hints and tips that can help ensure gaps in your CV do not hold you back:

So what is a Gap in a CV?

The gap in your CV is an employment gap in your resume. It is a discussion that appears in the summary of a person who has missed out on some of the details on their CV.

A gap in a CV can be caused by various reasons like sickness, maternity or paternity leave, unpaid internship, volunteering work-term etc. The employer needs to understand why there is a gap in the applicant’s past employment.

Explain Valid Reasons for gaps in Your CV

Gaps on a resume are not always seen as negative aspects. Instead, they can be seen as valid reasons for employment or work history gaps.

Gaps on a resume are not always seen as negative aspects. Instead, they can be seen as valid reasons for gaps in employment or gaps in work history, such as maternity leave, service in the military, caring for an elderly relative, or taking time off to explore life outside the workforce.

There are some occasions when you might want to include your gap on your resume:

– You were unemployed and looking for work because of poor market conditions.

You could not find employment that would accommodate your schedule (e.g., school).

– Your job duties changed dramatically, and this necessitated career change choices.

When you explain a gap in your CV, the first thing to remember is that it’s not always necessary to explain anything. If the reason for your gap won’t make you sound bad, then it’s probably best to leave it off.

Indeed, some people are still uncomfortable about gaps in their CVs, but they are just as part of life as the gaps between our teeth. We all have them.

Try to be Resourceful

While you may be tempted to put everything in your CV, you don’t have to. For example, if you have been employed for years and had different positions during that time, you could scale things back a bit. In other words, refrain from mentioning the month you started a job; say, the year. This will help keep your CV whole while also ensuring gaps rarely appear, if at all.

Try to be Honest

One of the most important things you can do when writing a CV is to be honest. While you don’t have to go into much detail, the holes may stand out even more if you lie about something or fail to address a gap in your employment.

It would be best if you also refrained from stating that you worked in a position for any longer than you did. This is because there is a chance that your prospective employer will contact your previous employers and ask them to verify how long you worked there. Explaining a gap in your employment history is better than lying about it.

Always be Proactive

If you are not employed right now, you can make things better for yourself by being a little proactive. Gaps in your employment history may be holding you back, but you can take a course or volunteer somewhere to fill in your current interval. In addition, if you can show a prospective employer that you’re serious about training or working, they’re more likely to be impressed.

If no volunteer positions take your fancy, why not sign up for a free training course? You could broaden your horizons, learn something new and make yourself look more appealing the next time you fill out an application form.

Always be Positive

Try to put a positive slant on the gaps in your employment. For example, instead of writing “I could not find a job” on your CV, write something like “I took some time out from my career to refocus my career and look for a position in my desired industry.” This can make the gap in your employment history look a lot more positive.

Always be prepared

You should do your best to be prepared whenever you attend an interview. Ideally, your CV will show how successful you are. The more successful you appear, the more likely you’ll get an interview. However, during the interview, you will be asked about any gaps in your employment where you need to be prepared.

Prepare yourself by working on a short response straight to the point. This will ensure you’re not caught off-guard during the interview. While preparing for the interview, you may also want to research the company you’re applying to and the industry as a whole. For example, some research shows that a gap in employment has not affected your desire to work in the industry.

Try not to Dwell on the gaps.

While you may be tempted to dwell on the gaps in your CV, you should refrain. Highlighting any gaps will only make them more prominent. The trick here is to make the holes in employment as inconsequential as possible. Instead, focus on communicating why you will be ideal for your job.

Be Proud of Volunteer Work

Let’s imagine you were out of work for six months, and you decided to do some volunteer work during that time. Work like this should not be hidden or removed from your CV; you should be proud of it. Mention any skills you gained while working in the position and your experiences. Don’t forget to mention any skills that will transfer to the job you’re applying for.

Be proud of the Courses you Took

Be proud of any courses you took while you were out of work. Mention the skills you acquired from the study, particularly anything that can transfer to the job you’re applying for. Of course, if you took classes unrelated to the job you’re hoping for, it’s still worth mentioning them as it shows you’re serious about finding employment.

Do Something Now

If you’re unemployed for whatever reason, now is the time to start doing something. Sign up for a free course, do some volunteer work and continue to look for paid work. Adding more to your CV shows you’re willing to work and you’ll be a more desirable candidate. Don’t forget to sign up for online courses and do a spot of freelancing if you wish. Boost your skillset, and you never know you could find yourself working in an industry in which you’ve always wanted to work.

Reasons why There are Gaps in your CV

There could be many different reasons for gaps in your CV; some may be a personal choice, whereas others may not. Below you will find a few ideas that could help you address a variety of reasons:

– You were travelling

Please do not say: I spent a year travelling because I wasn’t ready to commit to a job.

Do say: I spent a year immersing myself in different cultures to gain a new perspective on life. As a result, I learned some valuable lessons and am now ready to focus on my career.

– You had family problems

Please do not say: I had some personal issues that I don’t want to talk about

Do say: I spent a year caring for my sick uncle/aunt. Their health has recovered/they passed away, and now I’m ready to focus on my career.

– You were ill

Please do not say: I have a medical condition that makes working difficult.

Do say: Due to a medical condition, I could not continue working in my previous position. I am now in total health and am looking forward to re-entering the world of work.

– You were made redundant

Please do not say: My old boss initially had it in for me.

Do say: My previous employer had to make some budget cuts. They used the first-in-first-out policy, and I was made redundant as I was new to the company. I am proud of what I achieved while working in that position, and my former manager, also one of my referees, can reinforce this.

Many have gaps in their CV, whether a month or a few years. The critical thing to remember is that you can positively use those gaps and help yourself find the right job. Be prepared to discuss your gaps at an interview, having previously practised your response so it doesn’t seem forced. With a bit of work, you could have a CV that shows how proud you are of what you’ve achieved, making you more desirable to future employers.

Conclusion: It’s not uncommon to have gaps in your CV, whether because of a move or just something you couldn’t work out at the time. What is important to remember is that these are opportunities for you to show off what makes you unique and help yourself find the right job for you! Be prepared with an answer when they ask about any gaps on your resume during an interview; this will make it seem less like there’s anything wrong with them hiring someone who has had some trouble finding jobs before. With some preparation, you could have a CV where all those months without work look more like taking care of family members, travelling the world, volunteering abroad — whatever floats your boat!

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