Most people will need to submit a CV when applying for a job, but writing a CV can be stressful. For example, people often worry about having gaps on their CV, feeling that these may concern an employer. This is not necessarily true, but it is important to think about how you explain any employment gaps, making it clear that they are an asset rather than a problem.
If you have gaps in the employment history on your CV, this is unlikely to stop you getting an interview for the role you want. However, you should give some thought to the way in which you explain these gaps – in your CV itself, in your cover letter or in an interview. Here are our top tips on how to present gaps in your CV in a positive light.
1. Be truthful. Don’t be tempted to cover up gaps in your employment history by extending periods that you were in each job, since references will usually be taken up and dishonesty will be a large red flag for most potential employers.
2. Focus on the positives. See the gaps on your CV as positive times that have helped you to develop the skills and passions you can bring to the role you are applying for. If you have traveled, or taken up new skills, for example, a potential employer may see this as a very positive use of your time and will be glad to see that you have developed your independence and personal qualities, which will be an asset in your role.
3. Don’t go overboard. You shouldn’t feel that you have to explain very short gaps in employment, especially if these occurred a long time ago. By only listing the years, rather than the exact dates, of employment on your CV, you will eliminate the need to explain every small gap.
4. Show relevance. You should try to demonstrate that the gaps in your employment history have been useful to you and helped you on the path towards your chosen career. Any volunteering, extra qualifications or experiences that are relevant to the job you are applying for should be highlighted and their significance explained.
5. Be straight. Don’t let gaps on your CV become a bigger deal than they need to. Being open about where you have been and what you have been doing will help you to connect with your potential employer and give them a glimpse of the passion and drive you are offering their business.
Looking for professional recruitment in agencies in Cork, Shannon or Galway? When you need expert advice to help you to make the most of your career, a visit to a recruitment agency can put you a step ahead of the crowd.
CareerWise is Ireland’s leading specialist recruitment firm, covering Limerick, Galway and Cork, and our friendly team are on hand to help you, whatever the position you’re seeking. Contact us online now or call us on +353 (0) 21 206 1900 to arrange a consultation.
Joe Robbins is co-founder of CareerWise Recruitment. A graduate of the University of Limerick (Degree in Business Studies, 1985), Joe worked in the UK for five years where he specialised in materials management, production management and plant management for a number of companies.
He returned to Ireland in 1992 to become Operations Manager for a Cork-based start-up, FMC Automotive Division which was subsequently taken over by Snap-on Equipment. Joe managed the business re-location of this company to Shannon in 1997 before setting up CareerWise Recruitment in 1999.
He is a committee member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) Mid-West region, and a former Director and Vice President of the Shannon Chamber of Commerce. Joe is former Chairperson of the Sixmilebridge Camogie Club and current Chairperson of the Clare County Camogie Board.
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