For decades, gaps in CVs have often been viewed with suspicion or concern by recruiters and employers. Fear of those negative reactions can also lead applicants to hide gaps, or even lie about them. Well, we think this needs to stop and a fresh approach is needed to CV gaps post-COVID-19.
Thanks to the pandemic, thousands more people will have experienced redundancy, a failed business, periods of unemployment or having to take a job that is unrelated to their career aspirations. No one’s job prospects should be damaged because of that. Instead, we should be supporting people’s resilience and resourcefulness when faced with adversity.
Of course, there are dozens of other reasons – pre and post COVID-19 – why people may have gaps on their CV:
- caring for children or other family members
- unable to find a job (or one that’s related to their career) with flexible or part-time hours
- trying out a new business venture which maybe didn’t go to plan
- time out following a difficult time, like a bereavement
- exploring alternative career or study options
- just taking some time out of the rat race!
What should candidates do about gaps in their CV?
Honesty is the best policy! Lying on your CV is never a good idea and could cost you your job. Think about the positive effects your gap had on you:
- what you learned (about yourself or what you did)
- transferable skills or personal qualities you developed
Even if your gap was for a traumatic or personal reason and you don’t want to go into specific details about, if taking time out from employment helped you regroup mentally or refocus your future steps, that’s something positive that can be taken from the experience as you move forward.
Sara, a marketing manager, left her full-time job to spend more time with her children when they were young, then went back to a marketing role part-time. “I was shocked at how much more productive I was when I went back to work!
“Parenthood inadvertently taught me to be much more organised, disciplined with my time and I think I’m much more responsive and unflappable if there’s a curveball on a project.”
What should employers and recruiters do about gaps in applicants’ CVs?
If everything else about an applicant’s CV looks promising for the role they’ve applied for, then it’s important to keep an open mind about any gaps in employment. It’s something that can and should be raised at an interview, just not in an accusatory or negative fashion. It’s not unreasonable to want to know more about the situation but do so in a non-judgemental way.
Recruiters can advise applicants on their CVs and help them identify the positives from any gaps they may have, or if unemployment meant that they had to take a job that they normally wouldn’t have considered.
And while some won’t want to stay in these jobs long term, they may well have found them valuable for transferable skills such as time management, customer service, achieving targets, attention to detail and organisation.
Recruiters should also consider the tenacity, resilience and work ethic shown when people have picked themselves up from a tough time and/or pivoted into another line of work until they can find their dream job.
Making a snap judgement on the basis of a CV gap could mean that a company misses out on the perfect hire, or a great candidate isn’t considered for their dream job.
Honesty, integrity and professionalism are the core principles of our business. We strive to get to know and build relationships with each and every one of our clients and candidates to find them the right fit.
If you’re job hunting, check out our latest vacancies to find your next opportunity. We have permanent and temporary roles available in a number of different industries across the country – our team are ready and waiting to find you the perfect role. And if you’re worried about any gaps in your CV – don’t be! Get in touch.