ACCA, October 13th 2022: ‘Do CV gaps matter?’
Do you have gaps in your CV? ACCA spoke to Victoria McLean, founder & CEO of award-winning career consultancy City CV, to find out the effect they can have…
Below is a short excerpt.
Keep it simple
You’ve made it to interview and you expect to be pressed on any gaps in your CV. How deep should you go in your explanation? Can you be too eager to please or too casual?
‘Just don’t over-egg it,’ says Victoria McLean, founder and CEO of career consultancy City CV. ‘Explain your career gap simply, clearly and focus more on what your career gap taught you that you could offer future employers. And don’t worry: career gaps are more common now than they’ve ever been; they don’t have the stigma attached.’
John Lees, author of How to Get a Job You Love, recommends having a short, upbeat explanation for each period prepared. For example:
- If you took time out to study or to gain work experience in another sector, demonstrate that this is something you planned and what you got out of the experience.
- If you left employment for family reasons, be clear about this as a choice and the fact that you are now fully committed to work.
- If you had a gap because you were looking for work, talk about how you kept your skills up to date, how you extended your contacts and how the experience is giving you a new focus in terms of the role you’re looking for next.
Louise Kennedy, owner of Consultancy Oculus HR, recommends sharing why you want to come back to work and what the benefits are to the business. ‘My top tip would be to keep it factual and avoid bringing too much emotion into the conversation,’ she says.
Be matter of fact, recommends Toterhi, addressing a gap as part of your career story. ‘If Covid-19 has taught us anything, it’s that people have responsibilities outside the office. So share the gap without hesitation or shame and then shift the conversation to focus on your skillset. After all, consistent employment doesn’t equate to effectiveness.
‘If someone stepped away from the workforce to care for an ageing parent, that shows integrity. If it was to start a business, that demonstrates courage. You can share the “why” if you like, but there is absolutely no need to. The conversation should focus on skills.’