Gaps in employment? Don’t ignore them

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Ignoring gaps in your CV may lead hiring managers to disregard your application straight away making it a risk not worth taking when it comes to applying for your dream job.

Being honest is a key component of the hiring process. Lying or trying to cover gaps by extending the months you worked somewhere will be found out at the reference check stage. Even if you have nothing to hide employers will be put off.

Illness?

Any recent long career breaks due to illness need to be acknowledged and explained in your CV. Your message should be that, even though you did take time off work due to illness, you are now ready to return to your career.

Fired? Made redundant?

Taking time off between jobs after being fired or made redundant is generally accepted by employers as long as you accentuate what you did during this time to stay marketable. For example, did you do any volunteer work? Did you complete any additional training? These are two examples of the things you could be doing in your time off to show you have initiative. Note, you may have some further explaining to do if your break was due to a firing!

Travelled?

Taking time out of your career to go travelling is not necessarily a bad thing and is easy to put a positive spin on.  Many employers will actually appreciate that you’ve gone travelling before applying to work for their company as it means you’ve ‘got it out of your system’ or for others it may show a sense of cultural awareness and traits such as independence, curiosity and boldness.

Caring for family?

Taking time off work to look after a relative or care for your children is a common occurrence in the working world so there is no need to try and cover it up. It may be worth mentioning that your children are now in full time education/childcare therefore letting your employer know you are ready to return to work without any care commitments.

It is important to note that there is a high likelihood that you will be asked about gaps in your career during the interview stage therefore it is advised that you explain employment gaps in your covering letter to avoid any awkward questioning that may arise later on. Enquiries may still be made about these gaps but only if the hiring manager needs more information.

Get more CV advice with Michael Page Digital and take a look at our articles on how not to write your CV and what employers and recruiters look for in a CV.

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