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Mind the CV gap

Molly Hatch

It’s inevitable that gaps will appear in our CVs for one reason or another. After all, we’re all humans and we all have lives outside of work. Often such gaps will be left by job seekers unexplained, which unknowingly can cause harm to a job hunt.


Whether the gap was down to personal or professional circumstances, leaving a gap unexplained raises questions with both recruiters and hiring managers alike, leading them down the path of presumption and possibly judgment. They might assume that you have been let go from a role, you’re a job hopper who never settles in one place long enough or you don’t have the desirable attributes to stay in a role. This is why an explanation is crucial.


Honesty is the best policy


When a CV gap occurs NEVER leave it unexplained! Gaps in a CV will always raise questions and employers may go into ‘worst-case scenario mode’. So, honesty really is the best policy. As tempting as it might be, it’s important to not extend your previous employment to cover any gaps as most employers will ask for a reference which will confirm your time there. It’s best to assume the employer will ask about the gap and explain it in your CV beforehand with a factual and transparent reason.


Use the gap to your advantage


Life experiences can be as noteworthy as career experiences. If you can show you’ve used your time productively and with a focus on what you’ve learnt throughout, this will resonate with your employer. If you took a year out traveling, highlight what experiences you gained, immersing yourself into different cultures and how this has impacted you as a person. Perhaps you’ve grown in confidence, improved your communication skills or gained more independence. Learning doesn’t end in the classroom, many skills are acquired through real-world experiences and are transferable to the workplace environment. 


The right fit


Employers are, of course, going to be concerned about the right qualifications and skills to do the job but also if the person is the right fit for the company. A gap in employment can be a great indicator of this and help to gain a real insight into the person’s character, how they may respond to certain situations and how well they might work in the current team. Did they volunteer during this time or perhaps took some time out to learn a new skill or acquire a new qualification? When explaining the gap in your CV, think about how the employer may perceive this in terms of personality traits and consider, does this marry up to the company’s culture?


Be positive 


A gap in employment isn’t a deal-breaker, but you mustn’t let it interfere with your mindset. Be optimistic and positive, explain it in a way that contributes to your CV rather than hindering it. It’s very easy to say “I couldn’t find a job”, but this may result in negative assumptions being made about you; this person appears lazy and lacks motivation. Instead you could say, “I felt it was important to take a few months out to refocus my career and gain a fresh perspective on the industry.” Optimism is always a good look. 


If you have a gap in your CV, it’s important to address it and always accompany with a factual reason explained in a positive way. Employers value honesty from the outset and will appreciate a proactive approach rather than trying to cover anything up. Need some advice or support explaining a gap in your CV? Upload your CV with GCB recruitment agency today or give us a call on 01603 667777.

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