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How to Address a Career Gap in Your CV: Tips and Examples

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Due to the increasing number of people who have had to take sabbaticals or leave their jobs because of Covid19, the stigma around employment discontinuity has lessened. Employers are now met with open curiosity when they see a gap in a CV, rather than making assumptions about their past performance or reliability. A survey conducted in March 2022 showed that 62% of employees had taken a break in their professional career at some point. This new attitude towards resume gaps has been enabled by the lifting of the layoff taboo and people being vocal about their struggles with unemployment.

Table of Contents

What is A Career Break?

A career break is a period of time, usually several months or more, when an individual takes a hiatus from their job or career to pursue personal or professional interests, travel, or address personal issues. During this time, the individual may not be employed or may engage in part-time or freelance work. Career breaks can be taken for various reasons, such as to take care of family members, pursue further education, or explore new career paths. Some employers offer formal career break programs to their employees, while others may allow individuals to take a break from work without pay.

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How To Address a Career Gap

Career gaps can be a daunting prospect for job seekers. Whether you’ve taken time off to travel, care for a family member, or pursue further education, a gap in your employment history can be a red flag for potential employers. However, with the right approach, you can turn your career gap into a positive talking point and showcase your strengths to prospective employers. In this article, we’ll explore some tips and examples on how to address a career gap in your CV.

Acknowledge the Gap

The first step in addressing a career gap in your CV is to acknowledge it. Don’t try to hide or cover up the gap as this can create a negative impression on employers. Instead, be upfront and honest about the reasons for your career break. This will show that you have nothing to hide and are willing to be transparent about your work history.

Explain the Reason for the Gap

Once you’ve acknowledged the gap, it’s essential to explain the reason for it. This will provide context for your break and demonstrate that it was a conscious decision rather than a result of being unemployed. For example, if you took a year off to travel, you could explain that you wanted to gain new experiences and broaden your horizons. If you cared for a family member, you could explain that it was a personal responsibility that you took on willingly.

Highlight Transferable Skills

During your career gap, you may have developed skills that are transferable to the workplace. For example, if you volunteered during your break, you could highlight your communication, teamwork, and organizational skills. If you pursued further education, you could emphasize your knowledge and expertise in a particular field. These transferable skills can demonstrate your ability to adapt, learn new things, and apply your skills in different contexts.


Include training Or Development

Include any training or development you have completed during your career break.

Putting a positive spin on your career gap can impress many employers and reassure them that you won’t be leaving the workforce again soon. You needn’t go into great detail describing the career break – no more than a line or two. Focus on the positives, such as any travel experiences or personal development you gained during your time off.

Be Reasuring

Explain how you have used your time during your career break.

Employers want reassurance that you won’t be leaving the workforce again soon and that you’re motivated to get back into employment. Describe how you plan to stay in the workforce and what you’re looking for in your next role. This will show employers that you are committed to your career and are looking for long-term employment.

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Where to Address the Career Gap?

Where you mention your career gap depends on how recent it was and why you took it. If you are on your career break right now, explain this period out of work in your experience section and your personal statement. If your career break occurred in the last one to five years, mention it only in your experience section. If it was a long time ago, you probably needn’t mention it at all.

You can do this in a few different ways, depending on the specifics of your situation.

One option is to include a brief explanation of the gap in your work history in your resume’s work experience section. You can do this by adding a short sentence or two that explains what you were doing during the gap period. For example, if you took time off to care for a family member, you might write something like “Took a career break to provide full-time care for a family member” in the work experience section.

Another option is to create a separate section on your resume that addresses your career gap. This section could be titled something like “Career Break” or “Extended Leave,” and could include a brief explanation of what you were doing during the gap period. You could also use this section to highlight any relevant skills or experiences you gained during that time, such as volunteering or taking courses to update your skills.

Ultimately, the key is to be honest and transparent about your career gap, while also framing it in a positive light. By addressing the gap proactively, you can help potential employers understand your work history and see the value you bring to the table.

Here Are Some Sample Wordings

If you wish to keep it simple, add a career note:

  • Career Break 04/2015 – 12/2015

If you want to explain your career break with a career note:

  • Career Break To Raise Family  04/2015 – 12/2015

If you want to elaborate on what you learnt:

  • Career Break To Raise Family  04/2015 – 12/2015
    • Completed an online course in …

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What if You Have Multiple Career Breaks?

If you have multiple career breaks in your work history, you may want to consider creating a separate section on your resume that addresses these gaps collectively. This section could be titled something like “Career Breaks” or “Periods of Leave,” and could include a brief explanation of what you were doing during each gap period.

When explaining multiple career breaks, it’s important to highlight any relevant skills or experiences you gained during each break. For example, if you took time off to travel, you might mention any languages you learned or cultural experiences you had that could be relevant to a potential employer. Similarly, if you took time off to care for a family member, you could highlight any caregiving skills you developed or community involvement you had during that time.

It’s also a good idea to emphasize any steps you took to maintain your professional development and keep your skills up-to-date during your career breaks. This could include taking courses, attending workshops or conferences, volunteering, or freelancing.

Remember, the goal is to be honest and transparent about your career breaks while framing them in a positive light. By doing so, you can demonstrate your resilience, adaptability, and commitment to professional growth, which can be valuable qualities in any job candidate.

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Final Thoughts

A career gap is not insurmountable. Knowing how to address it on your CV is key to securing an interview. Be honest, positive, and reassuring. Use the above tips to help you explain your career gap in a way that highlights your personal and professional growth during that time. A well-written and confident CV can help you get your dream job.

Do You Need Help With Writing Your CV?

Dave Crumby

I have spent the last 10 years supporting companies ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies to find and the best talent around the world.  

During this time, I have:

✔️ Scanned and reviewed more than 26000 CVs.

For the past 4 years I have been producing professionally written CVs for job seekers who have secured new roles across 3 continents. 

Are you interested in working with me?

Email me today.

Best of luck,

Dave Crumby

Your Career Optimiser | Certified CV Writer

Winner of Most Supportive Career Branding Service 2022

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