How to Explain Employment Gaps on Your CV
By:
Puvin Pushpanathan
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As a Fintech or Data professional with an abundance of experience under your belt, you’ve likely worked for a variety of companies. It’s certainly not uncommon in this industry to change jobs from time to time. But what if you’ve also taken time out to travel the world or spent a little longer than usual sourcing your next challenge? Time away from your career undoubtedly leaves gaps on your CV; let’s take a look at the best ways to explain these.

Smoothing Out the Bumps

Gaps are periods of time in your work history where you’ve not been consecutively employed. A gap can appear for a variety of reasons including those such as needing to care for yourself or your family due to injury or illness. Perhaps you’ve needed to focus on study or pursue travel to exotic international destinations - I don’t blame you! There’s nothing inherently wrong with taking time out. You just need to explain it on your CV in such as way that any reader will understand the reasons why it was necessary.

Gaps can trigger employers to consider you unstable. Prospective employers want to see that you’ve stayed at jobs for a reasonable amount of time, haven’t changed careers too often and that any gaps are explainable.

When it comes to making decisions about hiring staff, employers often use historical performance as a basis to predict the future. What does this mean for you? It means your CV will be reviewed and judgment made about your stability based on the appearance of your career history.

How to Check For Gaps

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Organizing your CV into reverse chronological order is the best way to identify gaps and create a good flow of conversation when being interviewed. Order your career history from your most recent role to your first role and when reviewing your CV ensure all time is accounted for. Is there any period that hasn’t been included? Save yourself time and avoid those annoying interview questions about dates that divert the rhythm and flow of an interview. To see a structure of a good CV view the FinTech CV Template here.

How to Explain Gaps?

The question remains, is it acceptable to include gaps on your CV? In short, the answer is no. Any time away from your career should be included. A prospective employer must be able to see how you’ve spent time since you began working.

To address a gap, include the period of time and an explanation about what you were doing at that time. As long as you do include the gap and have a reasonable explanation, most employers will consider it acceptable. However, if you had a period where you resigned from one job and found it difficult to secure the next, instead of listing ‘unemployed’ for that period, it’s recommended to adopt a more creative approach. You could include reasons such as study or travel instead of unemployment and explain them similarly to the following. “Travelled to XYZ to broaden my travel experience, gain cultural exposure and invaluable life experience.” Even if you were unemployed, work on adopting a positive approach to the explanation you provide.

You may feel like your CV is beyond repair if you’ve had a number of gaps in your employment or held many short-term jobs over the years. Everybody needs a break once in a while and luckily employers are becoming increasingly understanding and tolerant of unconventional employment history. Honesty is the best policy and smoothing out a bumpy work history is possible! There’s a variety of ways to take a rocky history and reimagine it to paint the picture you want to convey.

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Puvin is a Senior Associate at Datasearch Consulting, a leading executive recruitment firm specialising in the Financial Technology & Market Data sectors.

You can download their FREE comprehensive guide on  “The Complete Guide to Hiring Fintech & Data Talent - 5 Proven Steps to Secure the Best Candidates Possible” here Alternatively you can view the Datasearch Consulting website or contact them directly on info@datasearchconsulting.com for a confidential discussion.