You’ve got a good degree from a renowned third level institution, some solid experience and then some more good experience. But what about the 10 months off in between?
CV gaps are becoming more common. Whether it’s due to redundancy, time taken off to retrain or to travel around the world, our work lives no longer follow a linear, uninterrupted path.
Monster comments: “Few of us nowadays have a CV that progresses steadily from one job to the next until retirement. There may be gaps while you re-train or take the opportunity to travel. Also, redundancy is an unfortunate fact of life. People are much more flexible about their approach to work, having an average of seven different careers in their lifetimes. All of this makes CV gaps unavoidable. But the good news is that they no longer have to mean instant elimination for jobseekers.”
For CV ‘gappers’ looking to explain their time off, Monster has the following tips:
- Preparation is key: If you see a gap in your CV looming – a period of extended travel or a redundancy in lean times, it’s worth asking yourself what you can do during that time that will serve you well when you re-enter the work space. If you can show an employer that you’ve used your time off to proactively acquire a new skill or learn a language it will show that you put the time to good use, ultimately making you a better candidate.
- Always be honest: While a gap in your CV isn’t a reason to reject you, being dishonest is. If you were made redundant, for instance, list the dates you worked, and if interviewers want more details, they’ll ask for them. If you chose to leave your previous job, let the employer know. Being perceived as being in charge of your own destiny and making informed decisions based on where you want to be shows a candidate in a strong light. Being honest about your situation gives the employer a sense of your integrity and confidence – two characteristics every employer is looking for.
- Have an answer ready: Interviewers will want to know why there is a gap in your employment history and what, if anything, you did during that time. When applying for a job, acknowledge the gap in your cover letter and briefly explain the reasons for the period of unemployment. In the interview, you can talk more about it at length. Don’t go in unprepared, hoping the employer will gloss over it. Not having a reason for your employment gap only leaves it to the employer’s imagination.
- Put a positive spin on it: Not all employment gaps are ‘murky’. You may have taken time off to take courses, freelance or travel – all of which can make you a better candidate for the job. List the courses you’ve taken and explain how they will help in this new position. Talk about your freelancing experience and what you learned and accomplished during that time. Share your travels with your prospective employer. At the very least, they may find comfort in knowing you’ve “been there, done that” and won’t be taking off any time soon to travel the world again! Adding in this kind of detail to your CV will also supply the additional details that Monster’s search-and-match technologies use to find you several great options that are the most tailored to what you’re looking for.
CV Dilemma: Employment Gaps and Job-Hopping