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How to explain a gap in your CV

Because life happens

Life happens. So it's very likely that at one point or another, we'll all find that we have a gap in our CV somewhere. Whether it's from six months travelling, or a year spent caring for a family member, there's many reasons why taking a break from work is needed. The challenge then, is knowing how to explain this in the best possible light.

Shorter gaps

If the gap in your CV is just a few short months, and you've been in employment for years, you might not even need to include all of your experience. If this isn't the case, you could potentially resolve any issues by altering the date ranges on your employment history from months to years. For example, you could change your CV from:

December 2011 – March 2015 (job 1) 

July 2015 – Present (job 2)

To

2011 – 2015 (job 1)

2015 – Present (job 2)

Longer gaps

If the gap is longer than a couple of months, there's a good chance you'll be asked for an explanation, if you haven't already provided one in a cover letter already. The key here is to remain positive.

People can go through some incredibly tough periods in their lives, but often, skills are learnt along the way – from multitasking to managing stressful situations for example. So framing those experiences as learning curves may help to flip a difficult to explain gap into useful skills that you can bring to an organisation.

Just remember to present your answers in a positive way, demonstrate that you're now ready to jump back into work, and most importantly, be honest – lies always find a way of catching up to you!

What to do when you're out of work

If you know you're going to be out of work, and circumstances allow it, put your time away to good use. A few years back, the recommendation would be to sign up to a course at a school or college, today there's a wealth of free flexible learning courses available online from around the world.

Meanwhile, social media is the perfect companion to find your next role. Both Twitter and LinkedIn are valuable tools for networking – as well as keeping your finger on the pulse for what's happening in your industry. That way, come interview time you won't be on the back foot compared to other candidates already in work.

Still unsure?

If you're still not sure on how to explain a gap in your CV, then talk to us. Our specialist recruitment consultants can give you the right advice; both on your CV and when it comes to an interview.

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