Something I get asked about on an almost daily basis is how to present gaps in your career on a CV.
Should I include them? Should I gloss over them? What should I include? How detailed do I need to be?
It is also a topic where there is so much contradictory advice.
"Yes - include them! You’ll be asked about them anyway!"
"No - don’t include them! Employers (recruiters) don’t like gaps!"
So where do we sit?
Include them - definitely include them! For 3 key reasons.
1. You should not be ashamed, in anyway, about the gap in employment. If you took a break to look after family, or yourself, you made a conscious choice to do what was right for you and your family. Now you’re making a conscious choice to return.
2. The gap is part of your career history, and I can guarantee you will have learned things about yourself that will make you a more valued employee and a more effective manager. Especially if you have volunteered your time at playgroups/schools/charities or taken on some unpaid work-experience.
3. The job hunt is a two-way street. If a company is put off by the gap, then how do you think they will react when you need to leave work early because your child has been sick at school? This is your way of weeding out the companies that you wouldn’t want to work at.
So be bold with your gap. List it clearly and if a company/recruiter doesn’t like it then it is their loss, and not yours.
How then do you present the gap on your CV?
Clearly and succinctly. A bit like this.
Full-time Parent March 2020 to present
Started family, volunteered at two play-groups, and organised fund-raising for local pre-school since 2022.
If you haven’t volunteered or built up more skills and experience, then use the one line.
If you took a career break for another reason, mention it.
Career break - recovering from cancer July 2022 to present
Or, if you would rather not mention the reason until the interview stage, then list the break as either ‘Career Break’ or ‘Sabbatical’.
Career break January 2023 to present
Again, don’t hide it or cover it up. Be open, upfront and clear about why you took the break, and then be clear why now is the right time for you to return.
If you’re unsure if you have presented your break in the most effective way, take advantage of our free CV Review Service. Email your CV to email@example.com with a summary of the jobs you are looking for and we’ll give you a call.
If you think you would benefit from more support, or even 1:1 coaching, please click the link below.