During the recent economic downturn many people’s jobs were made redundant, resulting in a gap, or a period of unemployment on many CV’s.
Below are some tips on how to address this matter, which cause many job hunters unnecessary anxiety and stress prior to interviews.
1. Use Years instead of Months
If you were between jobs for a short period of a few months a simple solution is to change the period, you worked somewhere from months to years.
2. Use other activities as titles
If you were between jobs for a longer period than a few months’ chances are that you may have done a course, cared for a family member, travelled extensively or done some volunteer work during this gap period. This all all legitimate titles to use to explain a gap in paid employment on your CV.
3. Honesty is the best policy
Never extend the dates on your CV to cover up a gap as you will inevitably get caught out when your new employer carries out a reference check. To add to this many employers will check that your Social Media profile (LinkedIn and Facebook) tallies with the dates you have on your CV. If you do happen to be caught out, your credibility immediately comes into question and you could be forfeiting a great career opportunity.
If you are asked the direct question “were you working during this period?”, it is better to come straight out and say “During the recession, the company downsized by 80% and my position was one of many to be made redundant. However, I used the period between jobs to re-focus and re-skill by going back to college to complete a Diploma in Digital Marketing”. An employer will much prefer an honest but positive candidate to one who is evasive and obviously trying to hide something.
A period of unemployment is nothing to be ashamed of as at the height of the recession the unemployment rate hit 15.2% and would have been much higher only for mass emigration. Most employers understand the sheer scale of the collapse of the Irish economy. Chances are that they themselves had to downsize during the collapse and are only no expanding as we return to economic prosperity.
Therefore, it is better to be straight up and honest when explaining when you were between jobs on your CV. Be sure to mention (and note on your CV!) what you did during this period; whether travelling, upskilling, caring or volunteering.
A potential employer should be impressed by your “get up and go” attitude in the face of economic adversity.