Oftentimes, people try to avoid having a gap in their CV at all cost. Some even take it as far as lying about the length of their previous job or adding a non-existing job. If a potential employer finds out, they won’t be able to trust you and after all, trust is the baseline if you’re looking to get employed. Instead you should be open and upfront about gaps and try to fill them in a meaningful way. If you explain the reason for the gap and what you did in the meantime on your CV, it might not even be a topic during the interview because the person interviewing you knows what happened.
Why are employment gaps a potential concern?
When a recruiter looks at the employment section of your CV, they will most likely look at work experience first. If there is a gap, they will checkt he time period and the length of your employment gap. If the gap is a while ago, say when you had kids, they won’t be suspicious. However, if the gap is in the last couple of years, they might start to ask questions, if there is no meaningful explanation. The second factor is the length of the gap. If you have a 4-week gap in your CV, it might’ve as well been a vacation. It’s also okay to have a bit of a longer gap if you’re changing careers or if you needed to care of family members. Nevertheless, if there is no explanation for a long gap, recruiters might be concerned because it can be a signal for a lack of motivation and you might come across as a job hopper if you have several long gaps and short employments.
What kind of employment gaps are not a problem?
There are some situations where having a short gap on your CV is not a problem at all. The most frequent example is family related. If you get kids or need to take care of your parents, there will be no questions asked when you have a gap in your CV. Also, it’s perfectly fine to have a gap when you decide to take a break to further your education and get a degree or certification. Naturally, when you can’t work due to medical issues, that won’t be a problem either.
As you can see, having a gap can be quite normal. However, it is important that you state it correctly to make sure people looking at your resume know what’s going on.
What can you do about it?
If you happen to be in a situation where you’re not employed for a longer period, try to find a meaningful way to bridge the gap to your next employment. Do contract or project work, attend courses or volunteer. If you are looking for contract opportunities in Switzerland, you can read our blog post for assistance.Don’t forget to list those contract jobs in your CV and don’t treat them any less important than the others in your career. Contract jobs can be a great way to fill a gap and give you valuable work experience. Contracting requires a high degree of flexibility and will expand your network.
Having a gap in your CV is not necessarily a problem, when labelled correctly. If possible, try to use the gaps to acquire new skills, expand your network and educate yourself. This paints a much better picture rather than just labelling the gap as “actively applying for new roles”. If done right, you can even impress potential employers with an employment gap on your CV.