Career Tools

How to Explain a Gap in Your CV

Category: CV Advice

A lack of consistent employment without a reasonable explanation will look bad on your CV and your application could be instantly rejected. Send a covering letter with your CV and clarify why there is a gap in the history of your employment, as there could be a perfectly legitimate reason and you want to make this abundantly clear and leave no reason for doubt.

Perfectly acceptable reasons may be:

You became unemployed – probably the most common reason for a break in your occupation but this can happen to anyone, be open and honest about it and state what you did during this time.  If for example you became redundant state if you did any voluntary work or attended a course, it is important to emphasise any constructive activities because this demonstrates positivity – remember employers verify work history and the last thing you want is to appear dishonest and untrustworthy therefore be direct and tell the truth.

Becoming unemployed creates a gap in your employment which is completely out of your control but it is how you cope with it that will influence your self esteem. It is therefore vital to demonstrate an optimistic approach which will eventually result in a positive outcome.

This is essentially a circumstance which you have created – for example many students take a gap year to travel and witness other European cultures, this is perfectly acceptable.  If you lived in a country for a few months highlight the fact that you participated in a language course this shows a willingness to be flexible and engage with people other than UK nationals.

Raising a Family
This is normal and women especially under estimate their value when returning to the workforce, be keen to emphasise that you are now willing to re-enter a workforce and contribute your skills.

This is a delicate area but if you have a significant gap it will obviously warrant an explanation. The main issue to focus on is that you are now fit and willing to work.

Caring for others
Be completely truthful – there are almost 7 million carers working in the UK – this is one in ten people and it is rising.  Your main objective is to state that you are now keen to make a fresh start and join a company.

Further Education
Many people take time off to better their skills or improve their education, state the name and address of the college or university you attended and perhaps mention the name of a tutor who may be contacted.

Failing to Provide an Explanation
If you do not explain a gap for whatever reasons an employer will question your ability and dependability to perform a job, and it is unlikely that you will be selected for an interview.

However, a gap will not necessarily work against you especially if you did so to attend college or university as this shows ambition and drive.  Any gap in your employment history may have been in or outside of your control but whatever the reason the most relevant factor is to explain it in a positive manner.