May 26, 2021

Have you been out of work for some time? Maybe your previous employer downsized and your role was deemed redundant or you decided to take a career break due to personal reasons?

People experience employment gaps for different reasons. Some people even chose to go back to school or took time off to take care of their parents or children. 

Regardless of the situation, on your next job interview, you are likely to be asked why you have been out of work. A gap in employment is not always a bad thing, however, you need to update your CV while at the same time preparing to explain the gap. 

Below are a few tips on how to explain an employment gap on your CV.

Be upfront about the situation  

Do not try to cover up your employment gap. The best way is, to be honest, and upfront about it. Do not try to hide relevant information as it will only raise suspicions. Do not be vague in your explanation that too can raise suspicions. 

Don’t play the blame game

Never criticize your previous employer. When explaining your situation, avoid negativity or blaming other people. It may be true that your previous employer may not have handled the situation in the best way, but do not criticize them during an interview.

Rather focus on the goals that you want to achieve in your career, highlighting the responsibilities you are looking forward to in a new role, particularly those listed in the job description.

Highlight the positive

Try to highlight some positive things that you did while you took some off. What were you doing while you weren’t working? What did you learn? 

The actions you took during your time off will show employers that you are proactive and possibly gained new skills. By detailing your accomplishments during the gap, you can turn what was worrying you into a positive.

Find references to support you

Do not burn bridges when you leave a company or conclude a work project. Ask your previous employer if they will be willing to serve as a reference on your CV, including on your online profiles such as LinkedIn.

Choose references that know you well and can speak to your strengths. If there are specific skills you want them to address, particularly ones that relate to the types of roles you are applying for. 

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