The 1st time I was asked about ‘hiding’ a gap on a CV, I was a bit perplexed. I thought it was a simple ‘No, you have to be honest on your CV.’
Then it got me thinking. The answer is still no, but you should do more than just leave in a period in your CV where you weren’t working, you should make the most of it.
There are many genuine reasons that somebody would have a gap in their CV and not all of them mean that this person was “fired” or “Let go”. We often speak to people who were hit hard during the depths of the recession as even large multinational companies cut staff numbers. These people weren’t bad at their jobs just unfortunate that their sectors had slowed down.
In fact, unless you were stealing from a previous employer or were fired for misconduct, there is probably a positive story in every CV gap.
Finding the positives
The best way to approach a gap in your CV is to show what happened and, most importantly, what did you to better yourself during that ‘gap’. That’s what employers are looking for, “has this person got the grit to stick out the hard days in the office, lab, factory or shop”. The people who aren’t afraid of the gaps are actually showing how proactive they are.
Its like if an issue comes up at work. Some people will shrug their shoulders and move on while others will sit down and think about a solution. It’s these small traits that will make you more employable. I’m not saying to go and make your CV 40 pages long, (unless you have the experience) give an explanation of what you did, why you did it, and the outcome – regardless of what that outcome was. Let the hiring manager know the courses you completed, the year out travelling, the new addition to the family that you were on maternity leave to bond with.
Employers hire your attitude as well as your skills
These gaps can sometimes be a deal maker to an employer. For instance, I had a candidate who was out of work for 2 years as they were looking after a parent who took ill. What does this show? Courage, dedication, strength of character, and above all – honesty. It wasn’t a detailed synopsis clearly but the candidate didn’t shy away from the gap and demonstrated a really employable, even sought after, character.
Ultimately if you have a gap on your CV, letting it go unnoticed could mean you miss an opportunity to demonstrate some core values. That gap might actually be the hook that makes the employer realise you are the best employee that company will ever find.