Gaps in Your CV? Don’t Panic, Here’s How To Answer For Them!

January 13, 2024
4 mins read

Gaps in Your CV? Don’t Panic, Here’s How To Answer For Them!


By Careers Desk

Tuesday, February 6, 2018.


So, you’ve got yourself an interview at the company you’ve been dying to work for, for the perfect job. You’ve submitted all of your answers to the questions on the application form and with that, you’ve sent in a copy of your CV detailing all your work experience since your first job. You’ve spoken to multiple careers advisors about how to interview well and you’re feeling prepared. The one thing making you nervous? You’ve got gaps in your CV throughout your working career and you’re finding it hard to know how to answer questions about them.

It’s not uncommon to have gaps in a CV these days. Many people in the working world have gaps in their employment history now, and while this doesn’t give you an automatic rejection it does mean you have to prepare yourself to be grilled about it in an interview. CV’s that have got a lot of gaps throughout them give a prospective employer the impression that you are fickle; that you jump from role to role without considering your employer or how they have treated you. You need to be ready to answer why you have had gaps, and you can’t be vague about it. If you consider things from the perspective of the employer, they are going to be trusting you to work for them and do a job well. If you have massive unexplained chunks of time on your CV where you haven’t accounted for your whereabouts, it’s going to arouse suspicion and make you look like you don’t know how to do the role you are applying for.

If you spend time working on responses before you head for an interview, it’s going to look obvious that you are telling tales, so you need to make sure that your answers are short and to the point. They will want to know why you left, on what grounds and whether the parting was amicable for each role that you have. Sometimes, being fired is just a part of life, and employers will respect your honesty about it at early stages. While it’s a blanket rule that you should never bad mouth previous employers at a job interview, you should also be able to explain the reasons for parting on bad terms in a diplomatic way. There are many reasons that people have had gaps in their employment history and we’ve listed the most common for you below:


 If you had an injury that signed you off work for a number of months, you’re going to have noticeable gaps in your employment history. You need explain your injury so that your new employer can be in the loop about whether you have ongoing issues because of it. If the injury happened in your old workplace, you’ll be aware that you have three years to make a compensation claim (Source: Quittance Work Accident Claims, 2018). This is a good way to be able to explain how you’ve been supporting yourself while out of work, which is something that the interviewer will be interested in. Explain your injury honestly and be aware that while you cannot be discriminated against for a medical issue, the employer is not obliged to hire you at all.


Many people take time out of the working life to go back to education for a while. The completion of a Masters degree, self-help courses abroad and even a PhD have been reasons for people leaving work for a time in the past. However, instead of making this look like you’re a wandering student, you could spin your time out in a way that explains exactly what you learned about yourself and your abilities while you were out of the workplace. If you focus on the elements that positively impact your career choices, you can give them a good reason to want to hire you and you’ll be a far more attractive employee.


Raising a family is often on the bucket list of most people, and if you have had time out to raise a family you should ensure that you list this as a positive. You’ve learned so much as a parent, and part of that is going to be knowing how to put yourself out there in a way that make people gloss over the gaps and hire you anyway! You are not to be looked down on for having a family but praised for evolving in your life so that you have more responsibility. Always make it clear that while you can’t promise that family commitments won’t get in the way sometimes, you’ll always be flexible and meet deadlines. Employers want to know that your life outside your job won’t be something that takes you away enough to make you an absentee employee.


Some people take a year or so out to travel the world and soak up the experiences that the globe can offer. There are countries to visit, new people to meet and cultures to experience and this can be a massive positive to you in an interview. If you are well-travelled, then you are someone who has a lot of life experience that you can bring to the table. Believe it or not, it also makes you a far more stable employee because you have already fed that wanderlust that everyone has at some point in their lives.


It’s not a nice topic, but sometimes, being fired can be a blessing in disguise. Incompatibility in the office can be a reason for this, but no matter why – you need to spin it positively. Talk about what the company taught you while you were there and share why there were reductions in the teams throughout the company while you were there.

A gap in your CV doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to be rejected for a job, but it does mean that you need to be open, honest and able to talk about each gap. Go and smash your interview: you deserve it!

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