How Do You Explain Gaps in Your CV?

Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2019 by The CV WizardNo comments

Gaps in your employment history, and therefore in your CV, are often flagged by recruitment agencies in London as being bad news. However, we are a London recruitment agency who have seen time and again that these ‘gaps’ aren’t something to fear, and instead can even be opportunities to showcase your skills. Let’s explain CV gaps.

Why are gaps on a CV problematic?

When you send your CV off to recruitment agencies in London, it will land on the desk of someone familiar with seeing tens, if not hundreds, of CVs a day. They are skilled at taking a quick look and reading between the lines. Gaps in the timeline of your employment history stand out like beacons.

However, the problem comes because in the absence of information, CV readers fill in the gaps. They are unlikely to come up with the genuine reason for the gap, and this doesn’t work in your favour. Instead, they’ll be thinking things like why can’t you hold down a job? Did something happen that affected your ability to work? Is your work ethic poor? Do you struggle to maintain a healthy work-life balance? Knowing this means you can head off the problems at they pass.

Honesty balanced with authenticity

Your number one course of action should be honesty—and a good London recruitment agency will encourage this, rather than dissuade you. Therefore, whatever you do, do not lie. Lies come back round to haunt you. Instead, offer a succinct and brief version of the truth. Therefore, if you took three years out to spend with your young children, be honest and say so.

Temper the truth with solutions

Understandably, if you’ve got a marked gap in your CV, employers may be concerned that your skills are no longer up to date. Don’t simply focus on the gap in your working life, but demonstrate that you understand an employer’s concern. You could explain how you undertook various training or voluntary work during your time off or prior to your return.

Use gaps to build interest

Being honest, to some degree, about your time out of employment can be used to build interest in you as an employable individual. Perhaps you travelled, tried a different career, or gained an unusual qualification? Try to use this to demonstrate what you have benefited from the gap.

Chronology matters

Some recruitment agencies in London will encourage you to list work experience in relevance order rather than chronological. Avoid this. It will appear to an experienced CV reader like you are hiding the gaps. Instead, list your experience with clear dates in chronological order. List gaps as part of this using the strategies outlined above.

Own mistakes

Gaps can sometimes be awkward for you to handle because you might recognise it was a mistake. You may even feel shame. Shake this off and own your mistake without being negative. Be honest that it was a mistake if it was, but highlight what you learned from the experience.

We are a leading PA and office support London recruitment agency, and we’re always willing to provide feedback on CVs to our candidates. Give us a call on 020 7870 7177 for your help—or if you’re looking for your next temporary or permanent office support or PA job.


Love Success is a leading PA and secretarial recruitment agency in London.
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