How to Address Employment Gaps on Your CV

Are you concerned about what employers will think about the gaps in employment on your CV? Are you unsure about how’s best to address these gaps? Well, there’s no need to worry. You can still ensure that your CV stands out from the crowd and impresses employers even if you’ve been out of work for a period.

While many feel the temptation to try and hide a period of unemployment, there’s no need. With honesty and a bit of tact, you can still ensure that you look like a great candidate. Let’s take a look at how you should address employment gaps in your CV.

Keeping it professional

As with all areas of your career, it’s important to ensure that what you write in your CV is professional. For example, you shouldn’t blame someone else for having a gap in your employment. Be diplomatic and concise when explaining any periods of unemployment so that it is clear for recruiters and doesn’t make them question your professionalism.

The best way to do this is to state what happened factually without any biased and steer clear of any subjective reasoning. This will demonstrate that you are mature and professional and will go in your favour towards being shortlisted for an interview.

Honesty is the best policy

Disguising a period of unemployment on your CV may be tempting, but honesty is the best policy. While you may be concerned about what the employer will think, being truthful will show that you can acknowledge and learn from past mistakes and want to move forward in a new role.

If you had a period of unemployment after leaving a role, you can also use your reasons for leaving to highlight what you are looking for in your next role. It’s perfectly normal for people to be out of work at some point whether because they were made redundant, didn’t pass a probation period or needed some personal time off.

Recruiters and employers can understand that circumstances can change, but they are unlikely to forgive dishonesty on your CV.

Highlight what you gained

While writing about your unemployment on your CV may be daunting, have a think about whether there’s anything you learnt or gained during that period. Is there anything that could actually help you to stand out from your competition?

For example, you may have taken some time to self-reflect or overcome a challenge which has led you to refocus your career goals. You may have had to demonstrate resilience, and this is a great quality to bring into any new role.

Being unemployed usually means that you have plenty of free time on your hands so employers will want to know what you have gained from that time off work.

Talk about your transferable skills

You should have plenty of transferable skills that you can highlight in your CV. Even conducting your job search can demonstrate these:

  • You’ve used initiative to register your CV and interest with employers
  • You’ve used time management skills to plan your day with job searching, tailoring your CV and writing cover letter
  • You’ve used communication skills in phone and in-person interviews

Think about how you can demonstrate your soft skills where you can in your CV. Addressing gaps in employment is the ideal place to show that you have continued to develop and grow.

Don’t neglect your hobbies and interests

The interests section is a great way to boost your CV, stand out and show off personality, especially if you’re unemployed. Your interests can further demonstrate key soft skills and show that you have remained motivated and active during your time away from work.

A great benefit of including an interests section is that it can set you apart from other candidates and show what makes you different.

Have you done anything interesting?

If you took some time to travel during your period of unemployment, this would be a great thing to mention on your CV. You can write about how you explored a new environment, culture and way of life. It could have been a goal of yours that you have now achieved.

Bringing it all together

Writing about a period of unemployment on your CV can challenging. Extract the positives, highlight what you gained and stick to the facts and you’ll maintain your professionalism and impress employers.

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