5 top tips on explaining gaps in your CV

Ignoring gaps in employment on your CV is a big no-no. You may think that employers won’t notice but for many a CV full of unexplained breaks is a serious warning sign which may lead to your application being disregarded straight away.

Honesty is essential to the hiring process, starting with your CV! Lying or trying to cover up gaps by extending the months you worked somewhere will be found out at the reference check stage. You will be caught out and employers will be put off, even if you have nothing to hide.


Taking time off work due to illness will need to be acknowledged and explained in your CV. However, you should make clear in your CV that even though you did take off work because of it, you are now well and ready to return to work.

Job loss

If you were fired or made redundant and took some time off work because of this you will have to explain to your employers what you did during this time to stay marketable. Did you do any volunteer work or complete any additional training to improve your employability? You may have some further explaining to do if you were fired. 

Gone abroad

If you took time of work to go travelling this may not necessarily be a bad thing. In fact, many employers will actually appreciate you doing so before applying to work for their company. For some it means you’ve ‘got it out your system’ and for others it may show a sense of independence and cultural awareness – all traits of a successful candidate!

Family care

If you took time off work to care for your children it would be advised to clarify that your children are now in full time education/childcare. This makes it clear to the employer that you no longer have care commitments and are ready to return to work. Taking time off because of family commitments (such as caring for your children or looking after a relative) are not uncommon therefore there is no need to try and cover it up on your CV.

There is always a chance that you will be asked about career breaks at the interview stage so it is best practice to explain any employment gaps in your covering letter to avoid any awkward questioning later on.  You may still get asked about these gaps but only if the hiring manager is in need of more information.

Get more CV advice with Michael Page Digital and take a look at our articles on how not to write your CV and what employers and recruiters look for in a CV.

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