UK National Career Advice

How to handle Gaps in your CV


Gaps in employment are not nearly as important as you may think, especially in view of the trend towards more flexible working.

There is no rule that says that you must be in employment constantly throughout your life. You have every right to take a break or do something else.

In a modern CV the emphasis should be more upon your areas of experience and achievements, using the CAREER HISTORY to demonstrate when and where you have had the opportunity to develop those skills.

Many people will advise that you need only include the last ten years of your career, so gaps before that needn’t show on your CV anyway. In this case, the section should be entitled RECENT CAREER HISTORY. If you decide on this course then factors to be considered will, of course, include the length of your career and how relevant the skills gained in a particular job may be to the current application.

I would still advise that your career history should be shown in reverse chronological order, but it is not necessary to put the dates in full, only the years. This means that short breaks won’t show anyway.

Be Honest About Your Work History

Where you have longer gaps, simply include the dates but put in a brief reason for the gap. Obviously, your CV needs to be scrupulously honest, as you would have to undergo employment verification and work history background checks (more information about this process can be found online) before joining any company. But there are ways of slanting the information to give the best possible impression. For example, if you are unemployed for a longer period you would be well advised to sign up for some relevant courses. That would mean you could put a Career break including further professional development.

Unless you have something to hide, there is nothing to be ashamed of in having gaps in your employment. The best policy is, to tell the truth about the reasons.