How to address a career gap in your CV

CV expert Emma Alkirwi gives some expert advice on how you can address a career gap on your CV.

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It’s the eternal question for those who have had to take a career break for whatever reason – how do I present it in my CV without harming my employment prospects?

According to research carried out by Applied, a third of employees surveyed have taken a career break of six months or more – but over half admit they would rather not disclose this to prospective employers.

There are several reasons why you may decide – or be required – to take a career break.  If you aren’t open and honest about the reason behind yours, employers might make untrue assumptions about your professional history based on the gap on your CV.

There is no reason to be embarrassed about taking a career gap, and there are ways to show them as beneficial to future employment. In this blog, we take you through the most common reasons for a career gap, and how to address them professionally on your CV.


Redundancy can be a challenging event – and we understand why you may struggle to address it on your CV.

There’s no need to go into a lot of detail about why you were made redundant – a simple line about company restructuring, consequences of the pandemic or company closure is as much information as most employers will require.

Instead, use the space on your CV to focus on the positives and highlight your skills. Concentrate on what you gained from working at the company, even if your time there was cut short. Reflect on your experience and key achievements, just like any other role you’ve held, and link it to the job description of the role you’re applying for.

You can also highlight ways that you made the best of the situation. Maybe you took up a volunteer role in the time off or learned a new skill which will help you in future roles. This will show recruiters that you’re resilient and flexible in the face of complicated circumstances.

Care responsibilities

Caring for children and young people is the number one reason for a career gap on a CV. Despite the pressure placed on parents – and particularly mothers – to choose between their professional and family life, taking a break to be a parent isn’t the career killer it is often portrayed to be.

Simply state the period that you took a break from work to care for your family, and highlight that you are ready to return to work. To take it a step further, you can note the skills and experiences you picked up, such as freelancing, consulting, or volunteer roles.

Parental leave doesn’t need to be detailed in your professional history. Your cover letter is an opportunity to explain your motivation to get back into the workforce and talk about your goals for the future.

Similarly, if you took time off to care for an ill relative, you don’t need to disclose any personal details about their illness. Ensure that the main focus on your CV is what you can contribute going forward.


After taking a break for your mental or physical health, it’s important to strike the right balance between being honest to potential employers and protecting your privacy.

Remember: you do not have to disclose any medical information that you’re not comfortable sharing, and it’s illegal for potential employers to ask for details.

It’s enough to simply say that the health concern is resolved and that you are ready and motivated to re-enter the workforce. This can be done in your cover letter or during the interview.

If you need reasonable adjustments in a role for health reasons, you do not have to disclose this at the interview stage, unless you need them for the interview itself.


Dismissal is a tricky subject to address on a CV. You don’t need to say directly on your CV why you left your previous job, just the dates you worked there and your role. But if the question arises, don’t lie about why you were let go.

Here’s what we recommend you do instead:

·        Briefly explain the situation surrounding your dismissal
·        Reflect upon what you learned from the experience
·       Focus on the positive impact you had in the position
·        Avoid negative comments about your former role or employer

Make it clear that you’ve learned from your previous role and that you’re ready to move on to a new chapter of your career.

Career change

Starting afresh is never easy, and often when moving into a new role or industry, jobseekers struggle when highlighting their experience and achievements for a new career. We recently shared an in-depth guide to preparing your CV for a career change.

If your career change has created a gap in your CV, show potential employers how you’ve used the time to your benefit through new skills, work experience and voluntary roles you’ve carried out that are relevant to the industry you wish to move into. This will work in your favour, as it shows your enthusiasm and commitment outwith the workplace for the role you would like to secure.

Many employees will find themselves requiring a career break at some point. Luckily, the job market is becoming more employee-focused, open-minded, and understanding. The best thing jobseekers can do is focus on the future and show their motivation to get back to work.

*Emma Alkirwi is the Managing Director of the CV Guru which is the leading service provider of professionally written CVs, LinkedIn Profiles, cover letters in the UK and they also provide specialist consultancy services.  If you would like more advice on crafting a bespoke CV, Cover Letter and LinkedIn Profile for your next role, check out their CV bundles, written by the expert members of their team.

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