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How to Explain a gap in Your CV

Don’t let a gap in your CV stop you from going after that dream job! Learning How to Explain a gap in Your CV can be made simple with us. These top tips will help you.

Is a gap in your CV stopping you from applying for jobs? While it may be a valid fear to have, you shouldn’t let it stop you from achieving your career goals. Learn How to Explain a gap in Your CV right here! Gain some top tips to help you ace your interview and land that dream job. 

How to Explain a gap in Your CV 

An unexplained gap in your CV can look really bad to a potential employer. It’s one of the things that will most likely be brought up during an interview. Luckily, there are ways for you to explain the gap, so you are not caught off guard. 

Honesty is the Best Policy 

You don’t have to go into too much detail, but leaving it out will only draw attention to the gap. Whatever the reason is, be open and honest about it. Don’t lie or try to bend the truth. Most employers will be able to tell if you are being sincere or not.  

Prepare Yourself 

Structure your answer well. Start by giving a brief explanation as to why you were unemployed for that period and explain what you did. Lastly, put emphasis on why you believe the opportunity is right for you. 

Find Value in Other Experiences 

Did you volunteer your time and services or work part-time? Or maybe you took an online course? It’s important to demonstrate that you did something productive during the gap. It shows that you are proactive and willing to improve your skills. 

Stay Updated 

Whether or not your break was voluntary, make sure you keep up with the trends in your industry. Attend conferences, expos or other events related to your field. Mention this during interviews. It shows potential employers that you have not been idle during your time off. 

Be Positive 

A positive attitude can go a long way. Don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed about the gap in your employment. The people who are interviewing you will understand that the job market can be tough to get back into. Rather focus on what you are hoping to achieve. 

A bold CV document on a desk. How to Explain a gap in Your CV is all about presentation.

Common Reasons for a CV gap

Most people experience a gap in employment at some point in their lives. There are many reasons as to why this happens. Below are some of the most common causes that people experience. 

Personal Illness or Injury – Accidents happen. People get sick. That’s just a part of life. This is a perfectly acceptable and understandable reason for a gap in your CV. Make it clear that you are ready to work again. 

Previous Role was no Longer Needed – Sometimes the role you have is no longer needed by a company. The most common reason is due to budget constraints. Explain the reason briefly, then shift the focus to what you achieved during your time there. 

Care for a Sick Relative – You don’t need to go into much detail about the illness or your responsibilities. Make it clear that your relative has either recovered or you have made other arrangements for their care. 

Travelling – If you were lucky enough to travel during your gap, focus on what you did and why. Maybe you wanted to focus on your personal development or explore other cultures. Whatever your reason is, make it known that you are ready for the job. 

Look After Children – There’s more to life than just working. If you took the time to focus on your family or look after your children, don’t be afraid to mention that.  Show that you are now ready and excited to start working again. 

Went Back to Studying – You never have to apologise for wanting to further your education. Explain that you felt the need to learn new skills or gain a qualification. It will show that you are determined to better yourself. 

Actively Looking for a job – The job hunting process can be difficult for many people. Sometimes it takes a while to find the right job for you. Mention that you have been looking and explain how you used the time to figure out what you really want. 

Will a big gap in my CV Lower my Chances of Getting Hired? 

A major gap in your CV can be a cause for concern for many people. But if you can offer a reasonable explanation for the time out of work, potential employers will understand. It also gives them a glimpse into the type of person you are and if you will fit the job. Your qualifications and/or previous work experience will count in your favour, regardless of how big the gap is. All you need to do is be honest and direct about it from the beginning. 

A young man and woman with long hair sitting at a table. Knowing How to Explain a gap in Your CV is important during an interview.

Why is Having a Good CV so important? 

Having a professional and up-to-date CV holds many benefits when it comes to applying for jobs. Some of these perks include the ones listed below: 

  • It’s the first impression a potential employer will get of you 
  • Boosts your chances of getting an interview 
  • Prepares you for an interview by highlighting important talking points 
  • Reminds you of what you have done in your career
  • Helps identity areas you can improve in – certain skills and qualifications

What can I do to Fill the gap While Unemployed? 

Being unemployed can really put a damper on your spirits. But there’s no need to lose hope just yet. There are different ways for you to fill the gap, even if it means not earning any money. These activities show employers your interest in your work and that you are up to date. 

Contract/Temporary Work 

When you are unemployed, you will be grateful for any type of work, even if it’s temporary.  Contracts or shorter projects are a great way to keep your skills sharp and give you exposure. 

Volunteer 

Volunteering is a good way to make use of your time while you are unemployed. Not only does it boost your mood to help others, it also helps you stay optimistic while job hunting. 

Get More Training 

Why not use the gap to your advantage? Take the time to improve on your skills or learn new ones. This can be done by taking courses that relate to your field. 

Distance Learning With Skills Academy

We offer a range of accredited and non-accredited courses through distance learning. Not only do they cover a range of topics, they can also be completed at your own pace. Most of our courses are open entry, so you can apply to study with us throughout the year. Some popular courses include: 

Let us Help you Fill the gap!

Explore all your options with us! Learn How to Explain a gap in Your CV and use it to your advantage. Get in touch with us by using one of the methods below: 

Author: Thiana Pretorius 

Last Updated: October 14, 2020

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