Having a gap in your employment history can feel like an enormous negative for your CV. However, this guide explains how that is not necessarily the case, as long as you deal with gaps appropriately.

Traditionally, people think employers are inconsiderate for any reason you weren’t in work for any particular period. Although this might be the case for a handful of employers, the vast majority are surprisingly understanding.

The world is changing faster than ever with changes to the world of work being at the forefront of that. Especially with the recent impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers recognise that circumstances get in the way of continuous employment.

Is having a gap in your CV a common occurrence for job applicants?

Whether you were made redundant or just believed it was time to take a break, employers see past the piece of paper. However, if you don’t deal with these gaps appropriately, you encourage the employer to assume the worst.

To avoid this, follow our short list of tips to dealing with CV gaps:

Honesty

Blatantly lying about an employment gap is an incredibly bad idea. Not only will you likely get called out and rejected or fired, but employers might notify their network that you can’t be trusted.

Being open about the fact you have taken a career break or some time without work demonstrates honesty and often a confidence in the reality of your situation.

Filling your employment gap

First and foremost, an employer will want to know what you were doing in that period. If that was just looking for the perfect job, that is ok. However, if you don’t write anything in that gap, the employer is going to assume the worst.

Oftentimes, people fill the gaps with the other productive activities they were engaged in and what alternative skills they developed in this period. Looking after children, for example, leads to a wealth of interpersonal skills that those who aren’t parents will not have.

Prepare an answer

Although an employer is unlikely to strike your application down for a career gap, an employer will expect you to discuss why you weren’t employed during that period. As such, you should expect the question in your interview and should have a clear and honest answer ready.

Having something ready will ensure you don’t get flustered and make it seem like there was no legitimate reason why you weren’t working, which might suggest that you were just lazy. Answers can be as simple as wanting to spend more time with your family.

However, you should try and not entirely blame circumstances. Employers don’t mind people making mistakes, but they want people to learn from them. If you just couldn’t get anyone to offer you a job in that time, say what you took from that experience and how you changed your attitude in some way.

Furthermore, if you have been out of work for a while, make sure you have a positive reason for returning. An employer doesn’t want you to join their company for the pay-check. Make sure you state that you are returning to employment because it is the right time for you so you are excited to get back to work.

Using a functional CV

For those with a significant employment gap, you may want to rethink your CV entirely. These people create what is known as a functional CV, which is where you prioritise and highlight your functional skills rather than your employment history.

In doing this, you can mask the fact you don’t have much work experience whilst demonstrating to the employer that that doesn’t mean you aren’t right for the role.