Career breaks. Are they CV deal breakers?
It’s easy to feel like a career break is the elephant in the room when it comes to preparing to get back into the world of professional work. So if you’re wondering what to do about glaring gaps on your CV and whether they might be CV deal breakers, don’t worry. You’re not the first and you certainly won’t be the last.
Be a bankable career breaker
The fact is, recruiters see hundreds of CVs a week. So it’s important to make yours stand out: any job applications that have question marks could mean that they get placed by the recruiter on a ‘to be followed up’ pile. And if lots of ‘tick all the boxes’ CVs arrive in the meantime, a CV with questions will likely be overlooked in favour of other applicants.
For this reason, it’s best not to have any gaps when it comes to dates. So put your career break on your CV with a brief outline as to what it was for, e.g. Extended maternity leave or a sabbatical to go travelling.
Big up the break
Always try to give a hint as to why you have been out of work. And if you’ve had five years off to take care of your children, try to talk up your achievements during this time.
2011 – 2016 Career break whilst starting a family. During this time I volunteered as a school PTA treasurer, responsible for moving big sums of money between accounts and organising large-scale events. I also ran two half-marathons for local charities.
2011 – 2016 Career break to start a family. Experience in delegating, multi-tasking, organising multiple diaries and time management.
Shhh! I’m a parent!
If you’re worried about declaring that you have children so soon into a process, think again; over 50% of the UK’s workforce are parents, so it’s not an alien concept to employers!
If an organisation has questions over your commitment to the role because you are a parent, however, this is a very different matter. And you might wish to ask yourself whether a working environment like this is the right fit for you. Ultimately, you need to be open and happy to that anything you write, you can talk about.
Honesty is the best policy
The golden rule is, never lie on your CV. You can omit things that you feel aren’t relevant to your application but by being up front from the outset, you’ll save yourself, your recruiter and your employer a lot of time. And it helps us make sure we’re finding the right cultural fit for you – whilst matching your skillset to a particular flexible role.
Avoid starting your CV with a career break if you can
If you can avoid starting your CV with a career break, that’s great. A recent role, even if it’s voluntary, shows you’re current and up to date with the working world, and employer won’t be afraid of you. So if their role involves a lot of computer work, they won’t question your ability to know the latest software packages. It also means your skills and even your office language is up to date – and that a return to work won’t faze you.
The work experience route
All very well, I hear you say, but what if I’ve had a massive career break?! It’s ok – we find flexible staff who’ve had long career breaks for employers every day. However, if you can make CV work harder for you, we say do it.
This is especially true if you’re trying to change careers; work experience can be a vital way of boosting your confidence and making contacts within a new industry.
- Offer your skills for free to a relevant business
- Volunteer in a local charitable organisation
- Research relevant training courses
- Brush up your skills and network like crazy
Once you’re armed with this experience, you can put this high on your CV and you’ll have something to talk about confidently and assuredly at interview.
Now you’ve got your CV looking ship shape, why not get in touch with a recruitment agency like us and let’s get you back out there. Sign up to receive our regular job news today at ten2two.org. Good luck!