How to explain gaps in your CV.

Claire Gray, Operations Director at Bain and Gray, shares her tips to explain why there may be gaps on
your CV…

Large, unexplained gaps on a CV can be an immediate red flag for an employer. They may question where you have been over a certain period of time and why you chose not to work for three months across the summer. Perhaps you were laid off, fired, experienced family issues or simply quit your job to embark on your dream to travel the world for a few months; whatever the reason may be, it’s crucial you are as upfront and honest as possible to settle any concerns a hiring manager may have.

Gaps of course are understandable throughout anyone’s career, however it’s likely an employer may raise some questions as to why you haven’t been able to hold a job down over several months or that you may indeed get bored easily and job hop. Employers will understand that to find the ‘perfect job’ takes time, in fact in a 2018 survey carried out by Clutch of 507 people who started a new job within the past six months, more than half of recent hires (58%) said that their last job search lasted two months or
less. This indicates why honesty is required when it comes to the interview stage when you may be questioned about gaps.

Meanwhile, in comparison, gaps on a CV may be a positive thing, especially when the reason behind it
may be due to travelling. An applicant who is well travelled can often be the preferred hire due to their experience around the world, this also rings true with professionals. For example, a survey by YouGov found that 63% of HR professionals believed a constructive gap year can make a job application stand out.

Therefore, expressing the reasons behind a gap on your CV may work in your favour, while being honest will demonstrate your character and what kind of person you are to work with. From our experience, being upfront and acknowledging any gaps puts you in charge of your career narrative and helps you take back control of a situation you could be stressing about.

Here are some tips to explain the gaps on your CV, while still selling yourself as the most suited candidate for the role:

Be honest
It does not serve any purpose to lie on your CV. You do not want to find yourself in a position where you are caught out as having lied about being somewhere you weren’t.
What did you do in between jobs?
If you gained extra qualifications, freelanced, volunteered for an organisation, even travelled, then include that. It’s a great way to explain gaps and makes you a more rounded, interesting person to hire.
Include ALL start and end dates
CVs can be hard to follow for a recruitment agency or potential employer if the dates of employment aren’t clarified and displayed on your CV in a chronological order (with your most recent employment first). It can also seem vaguer and will have less flow if dates are missing and may give the impression that your gaps between employment are even longer. To avoid this, thoroughly check dates and ensure everything is clear for a hiring manager, plus also ensure this matches your LinkedIn profile as this is something all employers will check.
Take responsibility
Anyone reading your CV and/or discussing it with you will show you more respect if you can take responsibility and ownership of the reasons for the gaps. Therefore, always remain honest and upfront no matter what the reason behind the gap was.
Know what you’re trying to achieve
It is important to know what your objectives are when writing your CV. You will want to be able to explain the gaps in your CV in a way that will still reflect you as the perfect candidate for the role.
No shame
Do not feel ashamed of the decisions you have made throughout your career or regret the decisions you have made because they are what have made you. Everybody makes mistakes; everybody will make a wrong decision in terms of career path; or encounter a problem close to home which means you have to put your plans on hold. If you follow these helpful tips and suggestions, we are hopeful that’ll you have no issues when it comes to the interview stage of your job search. Always remember, honesty is the best policy.