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How to talk about career gaps in your CV

Written by: Charlotte Rogers
Published on: 7 Jun 2019

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Whether you have a career gap stated on your CV from several years ago, or you are currently having a break in your career, you need to know how to address and talk about career gaps in any interviews you may have. Depending on the amount of time you had away from work, the interviewer may want to know more about the reasoning behind the gap in your career. There can be a wide range of reasons as to why you chose to take a career gap, from illness to redundancy, to parenthood and caring. Whatever your reason, it is always good to prepare your reasonings before you head in to an interview. For some people, the gaps in their career may have been a tough time and can therefore be difficult to talk about. Preparing an answer beforehand keeps you from being put on the spot.

Summary Statement

When addressing a career gap on your CV, you could include a summary statement. This could be a few short sentences explaining why you had your time away and include the dates of the break. Make sure you are positive about it, making sure you aren’t making it seem like a negative experience. No matter what your situation, the employer may want to know what you got out of the experience. If it was a negative period of your life, try and think about how you made the most of it and managed to make it through and talk about how you are excited to get back to your career. The statement doesn’t need a lot of detail, but the interviewer may ask for more details in person.

Be Proactive

If you are having a gap in your career for any reason and you can be doing something of use for your career, then do it. Of course, this depends on the nature of the career gap. If you have the time, try and keep up-to-date with what is happening in your field of work. You need to make sure you are looking into any news that may be posted, any advances or changes in technology and how these changes may affect you when you decide to go back into work. If you are taking the time to complete extra courses or something similar, you are showing future employers that you are still interested and up-to-date with what is happening. News and technology move so fast now, that if you are behind, employers may think you will stay behind. It’s important to stay keen and show the interest and passion you have for your job. If you are a determined worker, show them that you will not stay behind. Show the employer that you will work hard and do what you have done with other jobs stated on your CV. Just because you are not currently working doesn’t mean you should forget about your career altogether. When you start looking for a new job after your career gap, keep doing these things. Be proactive, don’t just sit waiting for the phone to ring, do something about it.

Be honest

Don’t mislead anyone about the time you spent away from working. Everyone has their own reasons and they are all valid. Having time away from your job can be down to personal choice or you have responsibilities that can require more of your time. Often career breaks can be down to, but not limited to:

  • Break after University or Education
  • Travelling
  • Sickness
  • Looking after family members

The list may be much longer and is not limited to the few mentioned. Some reasons for a career break are more positive than others, but make sure to keep that positive outlook when explaining the reasons behind your break. There can always be something for you to take from a break in your career, you will hopefully come out a stronger person and when given the chance, be able to thrive in your career. Being negative during an interview can impact you in a bad way. Always best to try and have a positive outlook, no matter what the situation.

Be ready to discuss

Make sure you are ready to talk about your career break in an interview. It’s not always certain that the interviewer will ask about your break but if it is longer than a few weeks, it is more likely to come up during conversation. If it is something you may not feel 100% comfortable talking about, just give a general answer to this question. Make sure you are informing them and being honest, but you are entitled to keep personal things to yourself if you want. Be prepared to talk about the gaps during an interview, being prepared always takes away some of the pressure.