There are many legitimate reasons that can lead people to having a career gap in their CV. It’s important to know that these breaks are not necessarily negative, and can provide valuable experiences and learning opportunities. Explaining a career gap can even be a chance for you to further demonstrate your capabilities and personal qualities to your prospective employer.

Some of the reasons that people might take a break from their career include:

  1. Personal reasons: This could include taking time off to care for a family member, raising children, or dealing with a personal illness. All of those are legitimate reasons for taking time out of work, and can often bring about personal development, growth and realisations about what you have to give to the world. Being a parent requires very high organisational and communication skills, as well as patience. Being a carer requires deep levels of empathy and responsibility for another’s well-being. Going through an illness can come with life experiences that an employer should empathise with, but which they also might find deeply inspiring.
  2. Educational pursuits: Some may choose to take a break in their career to pursue further education, such as getting a degree or certification. Those things directly enhance your skills and employability, so make sure you convey how your learning crosses over to the job you’re applying for.
  3. Job loss: Losing a job can also result in a career gap, as it can take time to find a new job or even pursue a different career path afterwards. Job-loss can be a complicated and stressful encounter. But with honesty and eloquence, the right employer will understand your experience and see how your qualities will benefit them. Being upfront will ensure that your new environment is suitable to your skill-level and personal attributes. 
  4. Travel: Some people may take a career break to travel or explore new opportunities. Travelling can broaden our horizons, learn about other cultures and even enhance your understanding and communications skills.
  5. Starting a business: Starting a business can also result in a career gap while you build and grow your own business. While it is a break from the mainstream world of work, it isn’t strictly a career gap. Running your own business can actually make your CV pop with high level skills that could show a potential employer your drive, how you are able to develop your self and the type of responsibility you’re ready to take on. 
  6. Career change: Switching careers or industries can also lead to a career gap as it can take time to acquire new skills and knowledge in their new field. It’s a brave move, and speaks to an individual’s tenacity and strength.

Whatever your reason, it’s essential to address gaps in your CV in a transparent and honest way during the job application process. Remember, anyone that you want to work for will understand. Communicating your career history clearly will help you to find a better match in your new job, both professionally and personally.

Good luck!