Inevitably, we will have gaps on our CV. Most people have had a period of unemployment; it’s an inevitability of economics: the economy cannot rise unbounded and many of us have lived through recessions.
Let’s look at the common reasons for gaps in a CV and discuss some tips on how to tackle them.
This is the big one and employers are used to seeing this sort of gap on the CV – it’s easy to explain this one without any fuss in particular. A simple line at the end of your Profile will suffice:
” I have spent the last six years caring for my young daughter but I am now ready to return to the challenges of working in the school environment.”
Things here can be tricky. Our experience at JobFox UK tells us that if you have a particular illness on your CV that extends more than a year it will likely be stress/anxiety or a variety of other mental health issues. Unfortunately, there is a stigma attached to these conditions and – let’s face it – we all face challenges in life that can put us under stain.
Some people have also a gap on their CV because they have been in rehab. This should be approached in the same way as any other sensitive gap in your CV: that is, don’t mention it. Make sure you have a ready-made script ready in case anyone fishes for the truth from you. Always jump for the positive:
“I took time off because I had to go into hospital but I’m fighting fit again now.”
Reams can be written on this particular CV gap. We get many emails from ex-offenders who feel caught in the trap of being punished many years after the crime. It’s an agony and the classic Catch-22. Do you lie to get your foot in the door and live in fear of being revealed and dismissed or be honest up-front and risk immediate prejudice and rejection?
The good news is you don’t have to state explicitly on your CV that you have been in prison. The CV is your own design and you can leave off ALL negatives. If you are going to be honest, you can be honest later on – in the interview perhaps. Many ex-offenders write a carefully composed disclosure letter and present this at the interview stage.
We have no definite answer here: that’s right, we’re cowards enough to shrink from this one. It is what it is and you can’t change this.
Many offenders study a suite of qualifications inside but you can put them on your CV without putting where you studied. Just list the awarding body (sometimes this is an affiliate college) and list the year you qualified. Visit the National Careers Service for more advice about jobs with a criminal record.
Just as with an illness, you need to have a ready-made script so that you are cool and calm when the awkward question comes:
I’m not proud of it but when I was younger I made some foolish mistakes and was in prison for a short time. I’m happy to say that I’ve put all of that behind me now.