In an ideal world our CVs would all be seamless and straightforward. We would leave school or college, immediately find a job and continue our careers by going from job to job with no gaps in between. The reality though is very different. All sorts of things can get in the way and we can have breaks and gaps which make our career journeys anything but straightforward. It’s pretty important though to make sure that when creating your CV, these gaps aren’t ignored or glossed over. An employer needs to know about them. We’ve outlined today some tips for Dealing with Gaps on your CV.
If you’ve spent some time travelling, don’t be afraid to admit this on your CV. Most employers these days expect that many people will have spent some time abroad either on gap years or whatever. The experience that this can bring can actually help make you more employable. Make sure you detail any jobs that you undertook when travelling, even if the jobs are not at all relevant to your preferred career choices. You will still have learned and developed ‘generic’ skills that will be required by an employer.
Periods of Unemployment
It is important to remember is that unemployment is nothing to be ashamed of, especially in this day and age. The key thing however, is to make sure that you put a positive slant on any periods of unemployment you have had. If you have done any voluntary work, undertaken any training or studying, make sure that you detail it. An employer will want to see that despite not being able to get a ‘paid job’, you have used your time productively. Being proactive will make you much more ‘employable’.
Always tell the truth. If you try and exaggerate and extend the duration of your employment in particular jobs, you will be found out. References are checked and dates clarified. Falsifying details on your CV will only serve to prevent you getting a job, not help you get one. Dishonesty never pays – especially when job hunting.
Taking time off to look after and raise your family is one of the most common reasons for gaps appearing in a CV. However if you are concerned at all that an employer may feel you have been out of the workplace for ‘too long’, the easiest way to quell their fears is to prove that you have tried to stay abreast of developments and advancements in your market sector. Explain that you have stayed up to date – that you have subscribed to industry journals or news articles, still network with former colleagues and continued to develop your skills through courses or workshops.
Voluntary and Charity Work
The work may not have been paying the bills, but any voluntary or charity work that you undertake when you are ‘between jobs’ should be highlighted on your CV. Skills learned and developed should be emphasised. This type of experience may be some of the most worthwhile experience that you can ever do so don’t ignore or be dismissive of it.
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