The best way to explain a gap in your CV
There may be a number of different reasons why you have a gap in your employment history. Understanding how to tackle this potential issue is the key to ensuring you don’t affect your chances of an interview.
Whether it was a personal health issue, a family matter, or even a gap year; there are effective ways at tackling this problem.
Here are two top tips that could help you close that employment gap and move forward with your application.
Use your cover letter to explain
A cover letter is typically written to help provide more detail to the employer. It will address why you applied, what interests you about the role, and what you have to offer. In addition, how your skills and qualifications align with the role and any other aspects you deem to be important to effectively showcase your talents to the reader.
However, you could also consider using the cover letter to help explain any gaps in your employment history. We would advise not going into too much detail, and ensuring this section is short and to the point.
Overall you want to prioritise focusing your covering letter on explaining how you are the right person for the job. However, if you feel it’s really important to make it clear how your gap came to fruition, then why not go ahead and add a sentence or too to make it clearer.
You should aim to leave no doubt in the reader’s mind once they’ve gone through your cover letter. The employment gap had been adequately explained right from the start, and the employer can now focus upon more important matters.
If you would like help writing a cover letter, please read this article – How to write an engaging cover letter for your CV.
Above all else you should be completely honest with why you were not at work. Health issues for example, are not something to be embarrassed about. In some cases this can be used to your advantage to show how much you have grown, learned and improved to comeback fighting much stronger.
Everyone has a story to tell and sometimes it is much better sharing this experience and turning it into a positive. Whether it’s a serious illness or injury, you should not shy away from turning this into a life experience.
In some cases if you feel there is no need to go into any detail, then again you should still be honest about the reason why you were unable to work. Leave out all the details and simply state that you were out of work for personal health reasons.
Remember that this is your application and it’s completely down to you how much detail you want to reveal. However, it’s important to remember that employer’s like transparency wherever possible. This will always be appreciated and acknowledged better if you are honest and open to discuss your employment history. It also leaves any doubt and removes suspicion from the equation.
If you are unable to explain an employment gap, you could leave the employer feeling that something may be wrong. Were you out of work because you failed to provide a good interview? This is just one of the questions that will be asked. Don’t let it get to this stage.
Did you know that there are up to 10 questions an employer could ask themselves when faced with an employment gap? Here they are – Ten Questions Employers Have About Your Employment Gap.
Jen Wiss-Carline has been a Senior Manager and Consultant for several sizeable companies which included dealing with all aspects of staff management and recruitment. She is also a Solicitor and Chartered Legal Executive, having been admitted as a Fellow in February 2006.