How To Explain Employment Gaps On Your CV

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Employment Gaps On Your CV

A couple of weeks back, I spoke with Roseline, who has been unsuccessfully looking for a job for three years now.

Roseline studied Bachelor of Science in Procurement and Logistics. After graduation, she went on a five-month job search journey without any luck.

She finally got a job with a logistics company. She gave the job her best, and the management noticed her efforts and promoted her to a supervisory role.

After two years, she quit her job to take care of her ailing mother. Her mother regained her good health, ad Roseline thought this would be a good opportunity for her to get back into the employment game.

With her experience and achievements, she thought it would be easy to land another job.

“At first, I was eyeing supervisory and managerial roles. But after a while, I started applying for entry-level procurement jobs. Still no success.

“I resorted to applying for any job I could find, I no longer cared about the field it was in… three years later, I am still unemployed. Not even an interview invite has come my way.

Could it be because of the employment history gap on my CV? Do I stand a chance at getting a job as compared to those who have been in the job market most recently? Also, is it possible for me to cover the gap on my resume and at the end of the day make it look appealing to a potential employer?”

You too may be in a similar situation. Whether you left your job to explore other career paths, escape a negative working environment or unjust conditions, was fired, had to leave due to a move, or any other circumstance, having to deal with unemployment gaps on your CV can often feel like the heaviest burden you’ll ever carry.

The truth is, many employers consider significant employment gaps on a job seeker’s CV to be a bad sign. While a consistent work history is associated with reliability and trustworthiness, periods of unemployment carry a negative stigma.

Those with gaps in their work history run the risk of being seen as lazy or unfocused with their careers, and not as an in-demand asset in the eyes of potential employers.

How then do you, as a job seeker, address the employment gaps on your CV and prove to a potential employer that you are the best fit for a job?

Include experience gained during the gap

In the Kenyan job market, jobs are hard to come by. Rather than blame your employment history as a hindrance to you finding your desired job, be proactive.

You can use this time to take a course, seek professional mentoring, or volunteer. If you have been freelancing, this is a good opportunity to include this on your CV.

You could also consider going back to school full time, and immersing yourself fully in a learning environment, to hone in on other skills even more.

These experiences count as work and can be included in your CV.

List them as you would list your other jobs – with job title, company name, job description, and dates of employment. If you took a class, you could list that in the education section of your CV.

Ultimately, this will set your CV apart as it will demonstrate to a potential employer that you are utilizing your time effectively.

Be Honest

Whatever your reason for leaving work may be, honesty is the best road to take. You do not have to talk about each and every detail that led to the employment gap. Whatever you decide to say, ensure it is the truth as a lie will only make the gaps stand out further.

As tempting as it may be, do not extend your period of employment in a previous position. Your potential employer might just call your previous employer to verify your time there.

Being honest about your situation gives the employer a sense of your integrity and confidence—two characteristics every employer is looking for.

Update your CV

Even in your unemployment, ensure that your CV is fully updated, and tailored for each position you are applying for.

When stating the dates of your employment on your CV, you can omit the month and only show the year. This is a perfectly acceptable format that will also help keep the gaps to a minimum.

Also, your cover letter can be used to elaborate on the gap, and to suggest why you think you are a perfect fit for the job title.

However, during a job interview you may be asked to elaborate on the dates, so ensure that you are prepared.

Perfect Your Presentation & Interview Skills

Do you lack the confidence to speak in public? It is crucial that you begin to practice your verbal and non-verbal behavior as it can be the deciding point of whether you’ll get the job. Strong verbal communication skills are highly valued by most employers, as they are signs of educated and competent individuals.

Research the most commonly asked interview questions and formulate your answers in a way that depicts your interest and skills. Practice your non-verbal behavior, such as hand movements, posture and even smiling, as this is vital in creating the best first impression.

In Conclusion,

It is not unheard of to have a gap in your employment history. It will only stand out if you do not explain it. All employers want to see is your enthusiasm for the job title, and your readiness to get back into the job market. Be confident and honest and you will have nothing to worry about.

All the best!

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