Explaining a gap in your CV isn’t easy.
Any potential employer wants to make sure they have the best people on their team, and this means people who know what they want, don’t change jobs, and don’t take career breaks. Even if the gap in your CV is for a legitimate reason, or wasn’t your fault, employers don’t like them, and will want a good explanation.
You might have gone travelling, or lost a job because of Covid or downsizing. This shouldn’t stop you from getting a new job, and it won’t, if you know how to handle the awkward question that will come up during the job interview:
‘I can see a gap in your employment history on your CV, tell me about that.’
The most important thing to remember when it comes to explaining a gap in your CV is: don’t try to hide it, and don’t try to lie about it. Hiring managers interview people for a living, so they can tell when people are struggling with answers, or trying to come up with something that sounds better than the truth.
Don’t stretch how long you were at previous places of employment, as most hiring managers will check how long you were there when it comes to the references. If you’ve lied and said you were working somewhere six months longer than you were, it immediately paints you in a bad light, no matter what the reason.
Every point you make in an interview should be positive, making you look more employable. That doesn’t mean everything you say has to be an example of you winning new business, building a rocket ship, or saving someone’s life, but everything you say should reinforce the idea that you are smart, professional, and capable.
When it comes to explaining a gap in your resume, the interviewer wants to make sure you weren’t wasting your time, so no matter what you did, even if it had nothing to do with your career, tailor your answer to your industry and how that time helped you develop as a person, as well as a professional.
For example, if you went travelling, and you’re trying to get a job as an automotive engineer, talk about when your car broke down and you fixed it. If you’re trying to work in aviation, talk about how you learned about other cultures, fuelling your passion for travel and the industry at large.
If you lost your job, frame the time out of work as you considering your career up to that point, your experience, and where you wanted to go next.
Lastly, the best thing you can do when it comes to explaining a gap in your CV is be confident when discussing it. If you’re scared of talking about it, that makes it seem like it’s something to hide.
Remember, no matter how long the gap, you have experience, you’re driven, you’re a good fit for the job. That’s why you applied, and that’s why they’re interviewing you.
These methods should help you handle difficult questions about gaps in your CV during job interviews. The important thing to remember is: if you’re right for the job, you’re right for the job. All it takes is one good interview, and you’ll be in. Once you get started, and show them what you can do, no one will ever ask about the gap in your CV again.