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How to explain gaps in your CV

Because of the pandemic, career gaps due to furlough or redundancy are more common today. However, whatever your reasons, there this no shame in having CV gaps. Life is unpredictable and can take many turns & most employers understand this.

Here are ways to explain gaps in your CV, cover letter or interview.

Be Resourceful

You can explain gaps in your CV through formatting. For example, adding in the career history section “Career break due to Xyz reason- date) and then go into more in the cover letter. 

Be clear and genuine.

You don’t have to go into too much detail about your time away from work. Use what you did during the gap to your advantage. Let’s say you went travelling or took a break for further studying- pull out the skills and experiences you gained throughout that time and how you can use them for this role. 

Be proactive

If you’re currently out of work and searching for your next role, use the time off work to take a course to improve your skills, volunteer, or start a blog related to your industry or areas of expertise. Then you can include that in your CV and mention it in your interview to show how this would make you a great candidate for the role.

Stay positive

Whatever the reason for a gap in your CV, focus on the positive. Use this to show your resilience and positivity during a difficult time. Focus on what you learned from the experience and what steps you took and positive changes to your career.

Common reasons for career gaps and ways to explain them

You went travelling– Explain where you went travelling, what prompted the trip and why you are ready to get back into the workplace. Talk about how the experience has contributed to your personal and professional development. 

You went back to studying– Use your cover letter to explain what you went back to education to achieve. 

Family-related– If you took a break to care for a loved one or to start/raise a family, let the hiring manager know you’re ready to get back to work and highlight why you think you are the right person for the job. Explain what you did during the time away that you can use in the role.

Due to illness– Don’t feel obliged to go into great details about your illness. Again mention that you are ready to get back to work and anything you did/learned during your time away that could be useful in the role. 

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