Having an unemployment gap in your CV should not diminish your confidence. Here are tips on how to address them.
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Gaps in one's CV may exist for various reasons. The reasons can either be voluntary, involuntary or personal decisions, which may force one to spend time out of work or between roles. These gaps in your CV which are explored in this article, when not accounted for effectively, might put off a prospective employer.
We also shared examples of how to address those gaps.
1. Took time off to travel
If you may have taken a career break due to traveling, be sure to explain why and what prompted the trip. Also, feel free to explain why you feel you are a good fit for the job after all this while. Also, do not forget to include relevant experiences and skills gained in the course of the trip.
For instance, say, I took a three-month vacation to align myself with different cultures, where I gained insights on culture diversity, and different business models. For instance, during my time spent in the Middle East, I learned that businesses place more value and priority on family time before business. Such encounters have equipped me with knowledge and skills, thus I am enthusiastic to take the next step in my career as a digital marketing executive.
2. While proactively job searching
Having an unemployment gap in your CV should not diminish your confidence. One of the many tricks for covering up for a lost time includes speaking about your strengths, as well as mentioning that you have been proactively doing something else. While explaining, do not sound inexperienced, beaten up, or low. Being unemployed for a long period does not imply that you are not qualified. You will find a job. Stay positive, and the same optimism should reflect in your cover letter.
For instance, say, after my temporary contract ended (insert how long ago), I embarked on a journey of searching for a new job in a company that would enable my growth and advances my career. Despite having several interviews, I am yet to find the right company where I can advance my skills. I am highly interested in the opportunities that your company would provide me, such as (list the opportunities).
3. When you had been laid off from work
Some of the reasons why a company might lay off staff might include, during mergers, staff reduction, cost-cutting and relocation. If it happens that your role was made redundant, you have to mention some of your achievements in your previous roles in your CV.
For instance, say, my role as the Project Officer was made redundant after the organization I previously worked for closed down. During my time as the Project Officer, my achievements included (state some of your achievements). Since being laid off, I have organized charity drives for street families and children homes, which has kept my skills rejuvenated. I am thrilled and looking forward to taking up a new role as the Project Manager in your organization, where I can develop my skills further and implement projects for the benefit of the organization.
4. Taking a sick leave off work
When you take a break from work as a result of prolonged sickness, or when you are taking care of a sick family member, you do not have to get into details about the nature of sickness. Instead, assert that the responsibilities that were holding you back have been relinquished.
For instance, say, I had to take a career break from my previous role due to a recurring medical condition. However, since I am not bedridden anymore and out of the hospital, I am fit and well, and excited to continue with my career. While on the road to recovery, I invested much time reading and blogging about my experiences to keep my mind sharp, which helped to motivate other people who were going through the same. I am looking forward to working for an organization that can offer opportunities for career growth and development.
5. When you take a maternity/paternity leave
Taking time off from work to raise a family is not a bad thing. Even employers have families and they would understand the reasons for taking a maternity/paternity leave. Although, while trying to explain, focus on the reason why you feel motivated and ready to resume work. Provide details on why you think this job is a fit job for you. Also, feel free to include the positive lessons that parenting has had on you.
For instance, say, I recently got the blessings of becoming a father and therefore needed to prioritize my family and raising my young girl. After taking some time off to spend with my wife and our newborn, I am now ready to resume working. There are insights (mention specific insights if you can) that I have gained since becoming a father, and I would love to use these insights in problem-solving.
6. When you went back to study
Going back to school plays an added advantage in the advancement of your career. Aside from that, one may go back to school to learn and sharpen new skills, and also when one is looking for a career change. The time spent while studying can be updated on your CV. In fact, employers may not consider such a gap as a concern. However, you should make it clear why you had to go back to school and what skills you have achieved.
For instance, say, after being employed for a (insert the duration of time), there was a need to return to education to study (insert the course name). The main reason for going back to school was because (insert your reason, for example, to gain more skills and academic qualification for your next role). Now that I have successfully completed my studies, I am thrilled about the opportunity to take on the role as a (insert the role) in your company, where I can effectively use and develop my skills, for the good of the company.
In conclusion, if the gaps in your CV exist for reasons other than the ones discussed, then use the following quick ways to address them:
Use your cover letter to explain the gaps where appropriate
Be honest while explaining the gaps
Keep your explanation brief
Stay positive and vibrant
Always speak to your strengths