So, you have a gap in your career.
First, don’t panic! Since the events of 2020, businesses have become much more open to people who need to take time out.
Besides, gaps are not something to be ashamed of. Lots of people have gaps in their career, especially now that more and more jobs are becoming contract or short-term positions.
A gap doesn’t have to be a sign of weakness, providing that you can show you used the time appropriately.
What does count as a work gap?
Gaps can happen for all sorts of reasons. If you did any of the following for longer than a month (unpaid), then you had a work gap:
You were made redundant
You took time off to move house
You cared for family members
You were sick
You took time off to travel
You were a ‘stay-at-home’ parent*
* even though being a ‘stay-at-home’ mum certainly doesn’t feel like a work gap, unfortunately this is still the case. Read our interview with communications strategist Ann Drew on returning to work after taking time out to raise a family.
What doesn’t count as work gaps in my CV
Freelancing (you represent a growing percentage of the workforce!)
How should I write about gaps on my CV?
Recruiters will look at both your employment and the gaps between them, as they all contribute to the broader picture of your career. This means that how you portray these events is key.
Don’t try to paper over short-term jobs by just giving the years on your CV. It’s too vague, and also it will be linked to your tax, and employers will check this.
The CVs that stand out to us at Aldrich & Co are chronologically laid out with simple formatting and clear and concise language. So, no need to go overboard. A short line or two to explain the break in your career will suffice!
How should I talk about my work gaps at the interview stage?
Be prepared that interviewers will ask you about a work gap. They’re unlikely to ask you the question to trip you up. They might just be curious to know more about you, and the ‘gaps’ can be enlightening about a person.
Remember that the interviewers are already aware of the gaps because you put them on your CV. Don’t let it knock your confidence. The gap wasn’t enough of a problem to stop them from inviting you to an interview!
(Psst! Here are our tips on what to do when you don’t know the answer at an interview!)
At Aldrich & Co, we advocate honesty as the best policy throughout the recruitment process. Don’t let a work gap be the elephant in the room – if you’re with a recruitment agency, talk it through with them first, and make sure you give the facts. They’ll help you to craft an honest response that also shows you off in the best light.
Whatever your reasons may have been to take a work gap, practice explaining them succinctly. Sometimes it’s the gaps that highlight character! If you find a way to turn them into a strength, they could also become a talking point. The year-long travel break could become a way to talk about how much you learned about people and cultures, something you’d never have had the chance to do if you stayed in the same office job.
We work to make you memorable in the eyes of an interviewer. If you’re looking for a job in the City of London but are unsure how to phrase the gaps on your CV, give us a call.