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  • There are many reasons why you may have gaps on your CV. You might have spent your time away from the workplace to look after children, you may have been studying, travelling, caring for a relative or looking for a job. Career gaps can also be caused, of course, by redundancy.

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Most people have some sort of gap in their career history, and, as our CEO Alistair Cox explained in a recent LinkedIn Influencer blog, these gaps are actually likely to become more and more common. Why? Because life expectancies are increasing, thus many find themselves with little option but to also continue working for longer – perhaps well into our 70s and 80s. Such a trend is likely to bring about a greater number of non-linear career journeys, and thus more gaps on our CVs.

But how can you explain any such gaps to an interviewer in a manner that actually sells you as a candidate, instead of sending employers running?

How to explain the gaps in your CV

Before I look at seven of the most common CV gaps and how to explain them during a job interview, I wanted to firstly start by sharing some general principles you should remember:

  • Structure your answer well. Briefly start by explaining why you were unemployed during that time, then go on to explain what you did, and lastly emphasise why you think this is the right opportunity for you.
  • When explaining how you’ve spent your time out of the workplace, it’s important that you demonstrate that you’ve done something productive and proactive. For instance, if you’ve been doing consulting on the side, studying or volunteering, or even keeping up with industry news, you should mention this, as well as the skills you’ve learnt.
  • Focus your answer on how you used your time, and why you think this is the right role for you, rather than going into specifics about the reason for the gap.
  • Whatever the reason is, be open and honest with your answer, without going into unnecessary detail.
  • Use positive language and don’t apologise for taking a break or having a gap.

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