How to effectively explain gaps in cv in a positive way
There could be many reasons why you decide to take time out of work. However, no matter what the reason may be you need to know how to address and explain the gaps in your CV. This can potentially be quite a challenge and even result in you missing out on the perfect job.
Worry not! Below you will find a few hints and tips that can help ensure gaps your CV do not hold you back:
Try to be Resourceful
While you may be tempted to put everything in your CV you don’t really have to. If you have been employed for years and you’ve had different positions during that time you could scale things back a bit. In other words, refrain from mentioning the month that you started a job, simply mention the year. This will help to keep your CV full while also ensuring gaps rarely appear if at all.
Try to be Honest
One of the most important things you can do when you’re writing a CV is to be honest. While you don’t have to go into a lot of detail if you lie about something or you fail to address a gap in your employment the gaps may stand out even more.
You should also refrain from stating that you worked in a position for any longer than you actually 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 gap. If you can show a prospective employer that you’re serious about training or about working they’re more likely to be impressed.
If there are no volunteer positions that 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. 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, and this is where you need to be prepared.
Prepare yourself by working on a short response that’s straight to the point. This will ensure you’re not caught off-guard during the interview. While you’re preparing yourself for the interview you may also want to think about researching the company you’re applying to and the industry as a whole. A little bit of 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 from doing so. Highlighting any gaps will only make them more obvious. The trick here is to make the gaps in employment as inconsequential as possible. Instead, focus on communicating all of the reasons why you will be ideal for the job in question.
Be Proud of Volunteer Work
Let’s imagine that you were out of work for six months and during that time you decided to do some volunteer work. Work such as this should not be hidden or removed from your CV you should, in fact, be proud of it. Mention any skills that you gained while working in the position, mention the experiences you had too. 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 that you acquired from the course, particularly anything that can transfer to the job you’re applying for. If you took courses that are not related to the job you’re hoping for it’s still worth your while mentioning them as it shows you’re serious about finding employment.
Do Something Now
If you’re currently 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. Being able to add 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, do a spot of freelancing if you wish. Boost your skill set and you never know you could find yourself working in an industry that you’ve always wanted to work in.
Reasons why There are Gaps in your CV
There could be many different reasons why there are gaps in your CV, some of the reasons may be down to 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
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 so I could gain a new perspective on life. I learned some valuable lesson and am now ready to focus on my career.
- You had family problems
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
Do not say: I have a medical condition that makes it difficult for me to work
Do say: Due to a medical condition I was unable to continue working in my previous position. I am now in full health and am looking forward to re-entering the world of work.
- You were made redundant
Do not say: My old boss had it in for me from the very beginning.
Do say: My previous employer had to make some budget cuts. They used a first-in-first-out policy and as I was new to the company I was made redundant. I am proud of what I achieved while working in that position and my former manager who is also one of my referees can reinforce this.
Many have gaps in their CV whether they last a month or a few years. The important thing to remember is that you can use those gaps positively and help yourself find the right job for you. Be prepared to talk about your gaps at an interview, having previously practised your response so it doesn’t seem forced. With a little 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.
Comment by Dilip
A highly helpful and well written article.
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