Most of the time, job search is stressful, especially if you have an employment gap in your CV. However, you need to know that having a gap in your CV is not the end of the world. Naturally, a lot of us had to take time off work for one reason or another, but remember: it’s all in how you say it. Keep that in mind, and you’ll be ok!
Let’s look into how to approach a gap in your CV, how to explain it, and generally, what to do!
How to approach a gap in your CV?
Here, we’re talking about CV writing phase which, correspondingly, reflects and pours into job interviews as well. You have to use the same approach for both phases of job search because it would look bad otherwise.
Of course, the approach you choose will depend on your personality and situation.
The power of presentation and words is underestimated. People tend to focus on the fact there’s a gap in their CV, instead of thinking about how to put a positive spin on it. If you have an employment gap in your CV, what you need to do is think of a way how to talk about it comfortably.
That being said, your first option would be to come up with a “story” about it. Or, in other words, to explain what happened and stick to it.
On the other hand, your second option is: turning a gap in your CV into an experience. The latter might sound a little bit out there, but keep on reading to find out more about this approach.
Explaining the employment gap in your CV
If you decided to be straightforward and let the employment gap in your CV show, good for you! What you need to do next is think of an explanation for it.
By “explanation” we don’t mean anything insincere; quite the opposite – own your story.
A nice and easy way to prepare recruiters and hiring managers for an employment gap in your CV is to mention it in your cover letter. Depending on your situation, you can say something like, “I took a brief pause from my career to take care of a family member”, “I took some time off to support my family”, or “I had to take some personal time to focus on XXX”.
Keep in mind: you don’t have to disclose any details – you’re not obliged to share anything about your personal life.
Maybe you enrolled a course and realized you need to focus on it full-time. As a result, you had to take some time off from your career. Well, if that’s the case, use education as a cover story for your employment gap.
Turn the gap in your CV into an experience
Now, your second option is turning the employment gap into something usable, like volunteering experience or re-skilling or up-skilling exercise. Certainly, you have to be comfortable spinning the gap in your CV as something like this, but once we explain the logic behind it you should be ready to go!
So, let’s use that example of taking care of your sick family member. You can present this as being a Personal Carer, Carer, or Personal Assistant. It will depend on your career aspirations and personality. You can use the experience to describe: organizational skills, empathy, understanding of medical procedures, coordination between healthcare staff and the patient, etc.
For all the parents who decided to spend some time with the kids and are now looking to get back to work… you can name your employment gap as Activity Coordinator, Housekeeping Manager, Facility Manager or something along those lines. You can use the experience to describe your creativity, resilience, ability to coordinate, communication skills, etc.
Again, the level at which you describe this and the angle you choose for it will determine what exactly you say about the gap (aka experience).
And then, when we talk about job interviews – just stick to the things you wrote in your CV. Of course, you can talk about it in a bit more detail if the interviewers show interest.
Where do I go from here?
To conclude, if you use just a little bit of your imagination, you can turn the employment gaps in your CV into real gems! However, the approach to gaps in a CV is individual, and just because someone said they’re doing it one way, it doesn’t mean you should do that too.
If you need help wrapping your head around job search, book a one-off coaching session and we’ll clear the air for you. We also offer CV writing services but if you’re determined to write your own CV, order this book that will lead you to a smashing CV – step-by-step.