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A lack of consistent employment without a reasonable explanation will look bad on your CV, risking instant rejection. Send a covering letter with your CV and clarify why there is a gap, as there could be a perfectly legitimate reason and you want to make this abundantly clear leaving no reason for doubt.


Perfectly acceptable reasons may be:

  • Unemployment

You became unemployed – probably the most common reason for a break in your occupation. This can happen to anyone and is often completely out of your control, but how you cope with it will influence your self-esteem. An optimistic approach will eventually result in a positive outcome.

Be open and honest and state what you did during this time.  If for example, you become redundant, state if you did any voluntary work or attended a course, it is important to emphasise any constructive activities. Remember, employers, verify work history and the last thing you want is to appear dishonest and untrustworthy – be direct and tell the truth.


  • Travelling

This is essentially a circumstance which you have created – for example, many students take a gap year to travel, this is perfectly acceptable. If you lived in a country for a few months, highlight any key experiences or learnings that could show your inquisitive and proactive character. 


  • Raising a Family

This is normal so do not underestimate your value when returning to the workforce. Be keen to emphasise that you are now willing to re-enter a workforce and contribute your skills.


  • Illness

This is a delicate area but if you have a significant gap it will obviously warrant an explanation. The main issue to focus on is that you are now fit and willing to work.


  • Caring for others

To be completely truthful – there are almost 7 million carers working in the UK – this is one in ten people and it is rising. Your main objective is to state that you are now keen to make a fresh start and join a company.


  • Further Education

Many people take time off to better their skills or improve their education, state the name and address of the college or university you attended and perhaps mention the name of a tutor who may be contacted.


  • Failing to Provide an Explanation

If you do not explain a gap for whatever reason, an employer may question your commitment and dependability, ultimately affecting the decision to interview.