Explaining career gaps in your CV

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A career gap is a period of time when you are not working or not  working on anything that you want to include in your CV. Career gaps are common. One of our Senior Recruitment Consultant in Finance reckons people take time away from their careers for various reasons, it could be because they have decided to focus on their full time studies such as finally completing their MBA or going back into practice to complete their articles to become a CA(SA) or similar later in their life. Some take career gaps in order to spend more time at home with their children or they leave their full time job in order to go travel she concluded.


There is nothing wrong with this; except when you do decide to go back to resume your career, you have to explain to the potential employer why you took time off. This is because some employers frown upon career gaps. Every company treats gaps in your CV differently, so it is important that you explain to them the reasons you took it. Here are tips to help you explain career gaps in your CV.

Write a skill based CV
Career coach, Eileen Dooley says: 'you cannot hide career gaps, so rather compile your CV in a way that does not draw attention to them.' For example, you can compile a skill based CV by making sure it is centred around your skills as opposed to your employment history.

Make use a cover letter
Hiring managers have many applications to go through and cannot waste time trying to piece together your work history. You owe it to them to document it clearly and concisely. The cover letter in this case can serve as the perfect platform to explain gaps in your CV. You need not delve into personal details but explaining in general as to why you were out of the workforce and why you are re-entering will suffice.

Be honest
It is considered unethical to lie about your reasons for taking time off from your career. Your potential employer does not know the gap is legitimate unless you tell them so explain your reasons clearly and confidently. If you show signs of uncertainty in your explanation, the interviewer and company in-question may feel uncertain about you too. 

Employers are aware that not everyone is fortunate enough to have a CV where everything falls into place sequentially. The onus is on you to convince them that your skills are relevant and that you are a worthy candidate.

Communicate Recruitment is a specialist recruitment company with over 3 decades of experience. We Connect great people in IT, Finance, Engineering, Freight and Contracting. Visit our website to learn more about us and how we can help you take your career to the next level.