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How to explain common employment gaps in your CV

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Going on a job interview can be very stressful, and even more so if you’ve had an employment gap. Whether you are already choosing your outfit the morning of the interview or just planning ahead for future potential interviews, knowing how to answer the reason for your employment gap is crucial to succeed in the workplace.

It’s important to be honest and transparent when explaining your employment gap. Interviewers can see right through you when you make something sound like more than it is, so maintaining full transparency and disclosing the gap will turn out much better for you than trying to hide it from them. Here’s how to explain common employment gaps in your CV.

Being unemployed

Being unemployed can be stressful enough, and with Covid-19 having such a strong impact on the UK economy, it’s no surprise that many people are in the position of being out of a job and looking for work. 

When explaining an unemployment gap during an interview, it’s important to be honest about the gap and speak highly of your past employer. Nothing can make you look bad quite as fast as badmouthing your previous employers, so be sure to keep opinions to yourself and highlight what you learned during your time away from work.


Travelling can be a tough CV gap to explain, especially since many employers could view a travel gap as a choice rather than a necessity. However, there are some skills you pick up while travelling that can’t be taught in the office. 

Did you learn a new language abroad? What about learning to use a foreign currency? These types of skills can be taught best in a social setting — which is one of the many reasons your travel experience is so valuable. Highlighting what you learned in terms of cultural literacy and open-mindedness will take you much farther than shying away from talking about the experience. 

Going back to school

Going back to school is a relatively easy employment gap to explain. Since you were going to further your education, most employers will be impressed by the new skills you learned — so be sure to highlight what makes you different from other job candidates who don’t have the same advanced level of education as you.

Taking an unrelated job

If you took a job in an unrelated field to make ends meet, it can be tricky to decide whether to explain the gap on your resume or just verbally address that. While that decision can truly only be up to you, a great middle ground is to mention it in your cover letter instead. 

Family-related leave

Taking time off to take care of family is a common reason for a resume gap, but it’s still important to explain it right. Be sure to highlight how you kept up your skills during your time away from work, and any additional soft skills you learned such as patience, time management, and communication.

Explaining a CV gap is always going to be a little bit stressful, but being prepared will help you ace your interview to get the work experience you need. For a complete guide of what to say during your interview, check out the infographic below.

Common employment gaps

How do you explain common employment gaps in your CV? Let us know in the comments below.

Career CamelHow to explain common employment gaps in your CV

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