Having gaps in your resume can be common for many reasons, from looking after a sick family member, simply applying for new roles, travelling abroad or even deciding to return to education.
Although CV gaps are becoming the norm in today’s society, you must know how to navigate questions regarding them during a job interview. Here are some of our top tips:
Be positive when talking about why you have taken a career break
Be clear, concise and genuine with your response, and don’t go into too much unnecessary detail
Start by explaining the reasons why you were out of work, then go on to explain what you did with your time, how it allowed you to develop your skills (if necessary) and then go on to discuss why this specific role is right for you
If you learnt any transferable skills during your time away from work, be sure to mention this
Common reasons for CV gaps, and how to get around this in an interview
1. You’ve been applying and interviewing for jobs
Ensure that you explain how you have kept informed about industry news and trends during this period
If you have taken any courses or attempted to further develop your skills during this time, be sure to let the interviewer know
Highlight how you have been waiting for a specific type of role to become available, and how this one in particular is exactly what you have been looking for
2. You went travelling
Ensure that you are keen and enthusiastic about the fact that you are home and ready to return to work
Explain what made you want to travel in the first place – was it to develop your understanding of different cultures? For personal development? To offer yourself a broader mindset?
Explain to your employer why this role feels like the perfect fit for you as you return to working
3. You went back into education
Inform the interviewer about what made you want to return to education and more about the course that you enrolled yourself onto
Explain the skills that you learnt during this time and how they can be transferable to the role that you are applying for
You could then further expand on how these skills could bring value to the company
4. You were caring for a relative
Make it clear that your relative has now recovered and that they are now being supported elsewhere
Ensure that you are enthusiastic about the fact that you are ready to work again
Do not feel like you have to provide any sensitive information regarding who you were caring for and why
5. You had time off due to illness
Inform the Hiring Manager that you are ready to get back to work
Highlight why you think you’d be a good fit for the role and why this position is ideal for you as someone who is returning to work
If you participated in any volunteering opportunities or courses or have simply kept up with industry news and trends, ensure that you let the Hiring Manager know
Again, do not feel obligated to reveal any sensitive information regarding your diagnosis if you don’t want to
6. You were looking after your children
Clarify that you took time away from working to prioritise family
Explain that after taking this career break, you are now ready to return to work and seek new opportunities
If you have kept up to date with industry news and trends, be sure to inform the interviewer
Explain why this role will be ideal for you and how your skills align with the requirements of the job
Remember, non-linear career paths are becoming increasingly common, and therefore gaps in your CV are nothing to be ashamed of as long as you are honest, clear and consistent with your answers. Also, ensure that you are enthusiastic about the role that you have applied for, and make it clear how your skills and experience align with the job description.
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