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Career Gaps On Your CV? Here’s How To Handle Them – The Right Way
November 11, 2021

Despite what you might think, career gaps really aren’t the end of the world. The reality is that many people will have to take a break from work at some point in their lives. And in fact, research has found that candidates with a current gap in their CVs didn’t receive significantly different callback rates from those without. It’s just a matter of handling and explaining them in the right way.

Here, our team draw on their experience with clients and candidates to give you wise advice on the matter.

Remove the mystery

Conveying multiple career gaps in a confusing way, or leaving an air of mystery around them, might not bode well – you need to address them. This doesn’t mean explaining why you left each role or going into detail about time out for personal reasons. Simply stipulate the period it relates to (using years rather than specific dates), and include it within the chronological order of your career history.

“For me the main thing is actually just explaining the gap in the first instance so there is no mystery.” – Aimee Gleave, Principal Consultant

Be positive

Career gaps don’t have to be seen as a bad thing. If you’ve had a lot of interim or contact positions, just say it. Be sure to note anything you achieved during your period of unemployment too, as this shows that you kept busy rather than sitting around. Whether it was a qualification, a training course, skills development, voluntary work or building your own resilience, jot it down – even if it wasn’t related to your usual job.

“Be honest as to the reasons why, but don’t be negative. Phrases like ‘I took a few months out to spend time with my family’ sound much better than ‘I couldn’t find a job’.” – Wayne Brophy Managing Director.

Summarise it

If your gap is your most recent role, it’s a good idea to write up a short summary in your personal profile section to provide a brief explanation. Given the number of redundancies and furloughs caused by the pandemic, we recommend communicating your situation – many people are in the same boat after all.

“You could put something like ‘I was made redundant as a result of COVID-19, so I took some time out to focus on my personal life and reassess my career path. I’m now actively seeking work as a [JOB ROLE] in [SECTOR]’.” – Matthew Owen, Associate Director

Seek support

Not everyone finds CV writing easy, that’s why it might be useful to source outside advice from those who know what they’re doing. Here at Outplacement Services, we’re happy to support your redundancy journey. We don’t just help with CV best practices either – we also provide guidance on social media and interviewing techniques to help you re-enter the job market. Visit this page to sign up online or find out more.

And if you’re an employer, you can also take advantage of Outplacement Services to help support your outgoing team members. Call us on 0203 805 7020 or email

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