Perhaps the most troublesome thing you need to do when writing or updating your CV (and there are many contenders for this title) is making sure it doesn’t contain any gaps. We’re not talking here about erratic spacing creating big spaces (though that’s something you should also work on) but rather chronological gaps. But even though filling them in can be a pain, CV gaps of this nature are to be avoided at all costs.

Why are CV gaps regarded as a big deal by employers? Mainly because they suggest a person hasn’t been doing anything with their life that is worth putting on their CV. However, while this is almost always an unfair accusation, many people do struggle to put things on their CV for periods when they’ve not been enrolled in full-time study or holding down a full-time job.

Normally this happens simply because people have very rigid beliefs about what they should or should not put on a CV. And so we might say that it is these beliefs that are causing the CV gaps, and not a lack of a busy and productive life on your part.

So, the way to get round the problem of CV gaps is to take a more creative and flexible approach to putting your CV together. Here are some tips to get you started:

Make wise use of an opening statement

An opening couple of lines at the top of your CV that summarise who you are and what your goals are is a standard part of the modern CV. And it can be used to make a passing reference to any long periods off work or studies you’ve had, whether these are a result of family circumstances, travel, or anything. Just remember to work it into a positive statement, along the lines of “Having taken a career break for the last two years while raising my young family/fulfilling my ambition to travel in South East Asia/etc., I am now eagerly seeking the opportunity to…”


Introduce new sections that allow you to describe what you’ve been doing

If you’ve been out of work for a while, it may well be that you’ve taken up some sort of formal or informal activity that makes use of your skills and time, such as volunteering or helping out a friend or family member with their business. This sort of information is ideal for filling CV gaps, but to make sure it goes in your CV you may need to create a new heading. In other words, don’t let your CV’s current structure prevent you from adding in information that fills CV gaps!


Don’t be shy about including things that don’t amount to full-time, permanent work or studies

Again, if you’ve been looking for full-time employment for a while, you may well have taken up one or several activities. It doesn’t matter if they weren’t full time, as CV gaps can be filled with part-time ventures as well. If you’re registered with a temp agency, for example, including this as an entry in your employment section, using the date you registered with them as your start date, this will go a long way to filling your CV gaps. Even if the temp work has only come through in fits and starts this way of presenting it on your CV will show you’ve been actively engaging with the world of work. And by using the area where you’d normally talk about your job role and achievements to cherry pick the best information relating to the assignments you’ve done, you can potentially use this new addition to your CV to really show off the best of your skills.


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