Long-term breaks on your CV may be difficult to explain to employers and recruiters; but you may have a valid reason for this. If you’re unable to explain why there’s a gap on your CV, it could prevent you from landing your next position.
Whether you took a career break to decide your next steps, whether you decided to travel for a year or you quite simply couldn’t find a role – we’ll look at ways you can address career gaps on your CV.
One thing you must remember if you’re presenting your CV, is that you’re likely to be presented with an interview. If you’re fortunate enough to receive an interview, you will most likely be asked about gaps on your CV – be prepared to answer them.
If you have been proactive and have valid reasons, then answering the questions won’t be as challenging.
Tip: To prevent being caught off guard with the questions, try and prepare some answers if you were to be asked about the gaps. As always, don’t forget to do some research on the company, and emphasise your passion and enthusiasm for the position and industry.
Although you’re trying to impress your potential employer, the single most important thing to remember is honesty is the best policy. Being honest about why you took a break from your career may be difficult, but by being dishonest about it will only make things worse.
Some of the reasons why a gap is presented may be personal, so you may not want to go into detail about it – address it as a “personal matter”.
It’s also important to avoid extending the duration of your previous roles to make up for the gaps. There is a good chance that your employer may request a reference, or even get in touch with your previous employer to confirm your time there.
If you decide that you want to take a break (for whatever reason), it’s important to be proactive during that period. As we mentioned earlier, there may not be a specific reason why there are gaps on your CV, other than the fact you just can’t find a new role currently. If that is the case, find ways to use your time effectively.
What are you doing to make up for the break? Are you studying? Are you completing a course?
This will show recruiters and employers that although you may be taking breaks, you are still being proactive and enhancing your knowledge to enhance your career.
It’s important not to lose track of what’s going on in your chosen industry. As previously highlighted, there are ways you can keep your knowledge up to date; like online courses.
By showing you know what is going on in the industry, this will show recruiters and potential employers that although you have had a break, you’ll be able to adapt quickly once you are in the right position.
There are various reasons why there may be gaps on your CV, and just like how potential recruiters and employers seek the answers to these gaps, understanding how to approach breaks as a candidate will leave you in good stead in the long run. As long as you have a plan and are confident of answering questions surrounding gaps, this shouldn’t stop you from advancing in your career.