How to explain a gap in your CV

Author
Susanne Christian, Careers adviser
Posted
April, 2017

You must always explain any large gaps in your CV and your cover letter is the place to do so

This is so a potential employer doesn’t misinterpret a break in your career history. If you approach it positively, it shouldn't be an issue.

Reasons for gaps in your CV include:

  • going on a gap year
  • having children
  • caring for a sick relative
  • suffering from a recurring medical condition
  • redundancy.

You should talk about the gap in the third or fourth paragraph explaining what you did and the skills you've learned. Finish by demonstrating your enthusiasm for the position and add that you’re now ready to focus on your career.

Get more information on cover letters or take a look at our example CVs.

Ben Chapman 14 The Park, Smalltown, Smallshire, SM52 6ZN brchapman99@gmail.com 07889987987
Stan Stanislas International recruitment partner International Company International House Northtown PJ7 2LX

13th March 2017

Dear Mr Stanislas

Re: International business graduate programme

I would like to apply for your international business graduate programme which I have seen advertised on the Prospects.ac.uk website and on your company website. I am enclosing my CV.

I am in the third year of an English with drama degree which has equipped me with skills such as:

  • Being able to present to groups of all sizes in formal lecture settings as well as on stage.
  • Organisation (of myself and others) when staging productions, for my course and in extra-curricular activities.
  • Written and verbal communication through coursework, essay-writing and workshops.
  • Working with others on timebound projects in groupwork, presentations and productions
  • Set-building, prop-making and lighting and sound.

I am particularly proud of initiating a workshop production of Grease in a local special needs school, as my final-year project. With three other students, I worked with 13 to 19 year olds who had never performed for an audience - increasing their self-esteem, concentration and life skills. As you will appreciate, this involved a lot of negotiation with the school, parents and young people as well as nurturing to bring out unrealised talent. We won the department drama prize for this project.

Before starting at university I took a year out to work and travel. I was pleased to be able to use (and improve) my language skills - French in the Far East and Spanish in South America. I spent some of the time travelling alone which exposed me to local culture and developed my self-reliance and resilience. I also did some casual work, in a bar and a hostel, while in Australia.

Travelling and working abroad has whetted my appetite for an international career. I can see how different parts of the world can learn from each other and work together. I look forward to putting this into practice on your international graduate programme - and with your company in the future.

Yours sincerely

(Sign your name here)

Ben Chapman