How many times have you sent out your CV only to get no reply? Sometimes a missing work history is inevitable but it doesn’t have to make you look inexperienced, if you’re looking for ways to smooth over the gaps in your CV and perfect your application every time, read on!
Use years not months
It sounds simple, but if you have a gap of a couple of months use the years of your employment not the exact dates, that way you’re smoothing over those few months where you sat at home hoping for someone to hire you and your employer won’t need any further detail. If you’ve only been working at a place for a short period of time don’t worry, all you have to do is show that you used your time of unemployment well.
No job doesn’t mean no experience
Fluff up any periods of unemployment by showing your employer that you were dedicated to building up experience, volunteering, freelancing, blogging, attending events and undergoing courses to learn new skills are all perfect examples of using unemployment to your advantage. And when you get called for an interview make sure to touch on these experiences as an example of how you’re up-to-date with everything in your industry.
Don’t underestimate networking
If you feel you have a lack of experience in an area, using social media to broaden your horizons and get in touch with people is the perfect way to show you’re dedicated to learning more about your field. Don’t underestimate LinkedIn for learning about new jobs or openings and being able to directly engage with other professionals in your sector. If you need some networking tips, read our cheat sheet for networking
Let it go!
You can’t buff over the fact that your last job let you go, but you can work with it and spin it in a positive way. Put the dates on your CV and don’t worry about explaining further, but in the interview if you’re up-front and honest it’ll work in your favour. A good way to spin being let go from a position is to talk about what you learned from it, explain that you didn’t do as well as you hoped but it was a learning curve for you. Don’t be bitter or play the blame game and you’ll look more trustworthy. If you need a confidence boost read our list of famous women who were fired before they made it.
Check your keywords
If your problem is that your CV isn’t being picked up, a good way to ensure you’ve got the specifications is to use a keyword checker. The people who receive your CV are usually quite busy and glance over it looking for anything relevant to the job listing. Open the job listing and copy the text into a new document, use an online keyword or phrase frequency counter ( to find out what words or phrases appear most in the job listing and then tailor your CV and cover letter to ensure you have an application that catches your employer’s eye.
Mind your writing!
Another quick tip would be to use positive actionable phrases and words and avoid words that connote inexperience. Avoid saying ‘me’ or ‘myself’ too much and try to make sure your writing is professional and a little distanced. Words like ‘experience’ and ‘development’ are good words to put on your CV.
A gap in your CV doesn’t have to be a sentence of unemployment for life! Just gloss over it and carry on, as long as you make sure you’re using power words and are confident in your experience and abilities you’ll be hired in no time.