Addressing gaps in your CV can be a tricky endeavor. Career interruptions come in all shapes and sizes, driven by various factors and life circumstances. Even though recruiters are aware that there is a myriad of reasons for which employees take breaks in their careers, it is still very valuable for a candidate to be able to provide a sensible, and preferably an honest answer that will add value to the CV and make you stand out in the eyes of the recruiter.  


Employment Expertise: How to Handle Gaps in Employment History. Source: WKTV Journal

In this blog post, we will discuss the most common gaps we find in CVs and explain how to describe them in a way that adds value to it.  

Most Common Reasons for Gaps in CVs, and how to explain them 


Reality: You went travelling 

Added value and how to respond: 

Personal Growth and Adaptability 
Traveling challenged me to navigate new environments, adapt to different cultures, and adapt to unexpected circumstances. This experience allowed me to develop valuable skills in adaptability and problem-solving that are highly transferable to a professional setting. 

Enhanced Communication Skills
Interacting with people from diverse backgrounds during my travels improved my communication and interpersonal skills. I learned to connect with individuals from various cultures, making me a more effective communicator. 

Global Perspective  
Traveling broadened my horizons and deepened my understanding of cultural diversity.  This global perspective enriches my ability to relate to diverse audiences and work effectively with colleagues from all over the world. 

Seven underrated benefits of travelling you should know. Source: Candor Blog

Sabbatical leave 

Reality: You took an extended leave from work 

Added value and how to respond: 

Renewed Energy and Burnout Prevention
Taking a sabbatical allowed me to recharge and return to the workforce with more energy. My sabbatical provided me with the necessary break to prevent burnout and sustain long-term success. 

Skill Enhancement and Continuous Learning
During my time off, I proactively sought opportunities to enhance my skills and knowledge. I enrolled in courses relevant to my career, attended workshops, and stayed updated with industry trends. 

Personal Growth and Self-Reflection
This period allowed me to step back from my regular routine and focus on my own development. I engaged in activities like self-improvement courses, mindfulness practices, and pursuing hobbies that challenged me. 

Sabbatical - Time out from your job. Source: Opodo

Involuntary separation / Redundancy 

Reality: You were laid off or made redundant 

Added value and how to respond: 

Job Search 
Following my involuntary separation, I used the transition period as an opportunity for career growth. I actively engaged in a job search to identify roles that aligned with my skills and aspirations.  

Expansion of Professional Skillset 
During my job search, I recognized the importance of diversifying my skill set and adapting to changing industry demands. I pursued additional training and certifications to stay competitive in the job market. This approach broadened my career options 

The job search process encouraged me to engage in self-discovery. I took the time to assess my career goals and values, making sure that my next role would be a strong fit. This reflection allowed me to make informed decisions about my career path. 

Pursuing further education 

Reality: You went back to university or enrolled in a bootcamp 

Added value and how to respond: 

Skill Enhancement and Specialization 
Going back to studies allowed me to enhance my skill set and specialize in areas of particular interest. I pursued courses and programs that aligned with my career goals, giving me a competitive edge in my field. These skills have direct applicability to the roles I seek. 

While pursuing further education, I had the opportunity to network with peers, instructors, and professionals in my chosen field. These connections have proven valuable for knowledge sharing, collaboration, and accessing potential job opportunities in the future. 

In the current, rapidly changing job market, it is important to remain adaptable and keep current with industry developments. Returning to studies provided me with the tools to adapt to evolving challenges and technologies. 

Personal Reasons 

Reality: you were taking care of a family member, moving to a new city, was taking time off due to personal circumstances

Added value and how to respond: 

Enhanced Time Management and Organization Skills 
Balancing personal responsibilities during my break required a high level of time management and organization. These skills are directly applicable to my professional role, enabling me to prioritize tasks, meet deadlines, and work efficiently. 

Adaptability and Resilience 
Handling personal challenges, such as moving to a new city, required adaptability and resilience. I have learned to navigate change effectively and approach new situations with a positive attitude. 

Expanded Perspective 
The personal break provided me with a broader perspective on life, which I bring to my work. It has allowed me to relate more empathetically to colleagues and clients who may be experiencing personal challenges of their own. This enhanced understanding contributes to a more supportive and collaborative work environment. 

Recap: Adding Value to CV Gaps 

In the quest to address gaps in your CV, it is essential to recognize that career interruptions come in various forms, driven by life circumstances and personal choices. Recruiters understand this diversity and appreciate candidates who can provide sensible and honest explanations that enhance their CVs. Here's a recap of how to turn these gaps into valuable experiences: 

  • Travel: Emphasize personal growth, adaptability, enhanced communication skills, and a global perspective gained from your travels. These skills are transferable to professional settings. 
  • Sabbatical Leave: Highlight renewed energy, skill enhancement, and personal growth achieved during your sabbatical. Show that it prevented burnout and reinforced your commitment to continuous learning. 
  • Involuntary Separation/Redundancy: Showcase your proactive job search, expansion of your professional skill set, and self-discovery during the transition period. Demonstrate adaptability and resilience. 
  • Pursuing Further Education: Emphasize skill enhancement, specialization, networking, and adaptability gained through your educational journey. These attributes make you an asset in the workforce. 
  • Personal Reasons: Draw attention to your enhanced time management, organizational skills, adaptability, resilience, and an expanded perspective acquired while dealing with personal challenges. These qualities enrich your professional capabilities. 


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