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How do you explain a gap on your CV?



There are many reasons why a gap on your CV can happen; health issues, illness, taking time out to travelling, starting your own business or simply because you were unable to find employment.

When applying for your next job explaining these gaps can be very intimidating and it can become very easy to lie.

However, the good news is that it isn’t something a recruiter hasn’t seen before and it is possible to explain the gaps on your CV, you just need to know the reasons that are ok to share and follow our simple steps:
  • Honesty is best - if you have been called for an interview then the recruiter is willing to listen therefore being honest and forthcoming is always the best policy.
  • Prepare well - consider your reason carefully and ensure you will be comfortable and well prepared when it is necessary to discuss it. Remember that being truthful might not get you the job but lying will mean you will definitely lose it.
  • Be comprehensive but succinct - a recruiter will want to know the reasons for the gap but not your life story! Practice discussing the subject where you give the essential facts only. 
  • Don’t be flippant - whatever the reason for the gap on your CV being flippant is not the answer. Explain that the situation has passed and that you are able to fully commit to the new role.
  • Focus on your strengths - if anything could be seen as negative always back it up with positives and especially the interest you have in the new role and how you are qualified for it.
  • Check all your profiles - ensure your explanation is backed up by the accounts you show on your social media including your LinkedIn profile and any personal blogs.
  • Appear selective and in demand - if the gap in your CV is due to a period of unemployment turn it around by saying that you have focused on finding the right role and therefore have been ok with taking your time. This sounds much better than saying no one would give you an interview.
  • If still not seeing any success - if your gaps are longer, you should consider putting a brief note in your CV to explain what happened or in your covering letter because it will allow you to go into more detail.
If, however you are still seeing limited or no results, change your CV and approach it in another way and refocus on the positives such as saying that although you were out of your industry for a while you still chose to remain up-to-date by reading the trade press and news for your sector.

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