We’ve all been there, we’ve found ourselves unemployed with the prospect of a yawning gap on our CV. Sure, it’s a difficult scenario, but your CV can still stand out on job boards even if you’ve been out of work. You don’t have to dodge anything and the best part is, with a bit of tact and honesty, you can still come off looking good.

As such, here’s our guide on how to address unemployment on your CV.

Stay professional when explaining your reason for unemployment

You should always stay professional and honest when covering why you were unemployed on your CV. The recruiter might want to know why you were out of work, and if you state this diplomatically it could put their mind at rest.

Be sure to clarify exactly why you were unemployed, but discuss this in a concise manner so its easy to understand. Stay professional here and avoid stating anything overly subjective about why you left your job. By stating what happened without biased input, you’ll give the employer a clearer picture of what happened and strengthen your chances of success.

Always be honest about gaps in your employment whatever the reason

It can be tempting to disguise unemployment on your CV. However, honesty is the best policy. You should always reveal gaps in your employment no matter what you think it might look like to an employer.

Remember to be candid whatever the reason for leaving your job, as this will show employers you’re ready to return to the workplace. Use your reason for leaving to indicate what you want from your next job this makes it easier for employers to see if their job is right for you. Employers will also respect your honesty here.

Keep in mind it’s normal for people to become unemployed and circumstances change. As such, it’s wise to be honest about unemployment on your CV. Concealing this could do more harm than good.

Focus on what you gained through being unemployed

Talking about time away from work on your CV can be daunting, but telling an employer what you gained or learnt from your situation can give your application the edge.

For instance, you could cover briefly what you discovered about yourself. We suggest writing about any form of self-reflection or career focus to show employers how you can recover from setbacks. Stating anything you learnt from losing your job, or taking time away from the workplace, will show employers that you can take the rough with the smooth and become a better employee.

Remember; being unemployed means plenty of free time, so you can expect companies to assume you’ve gained something from your time away from work.

Mention the transferable skills you’ve improved during unemployment

Going over how you’ve used transferable skills during your job search is another way to address a gap on your CV. There are many ways to discuss these skills in connection with your job search, so don’t fret.

For instance, you could mention that through applying for jobs and registering your CV on job boards, you’ve taken the initiative and can apply this skill to the workplace. You could also discuss how you’ve improved your time management skills by balancing your day between writing cover letters, editing your CV and other job-hunting activities.

As such, you’ll show use of vital soft skills needed in every job. You’ll also underline how you’ve been proactive and furthered your skills in your free time.

Improve the interests section on your CV

When you’re unemployed the interests section of your CV can also help you stand out to employers.

You can use your interests to show you’ve been motivated to experience new things and stay active during your unemployment. To expand on this, you can also use your interests to explain your soft skills.

A benefit of using your interests in this way is that employers will see something that makes you different and worth interviewing. They’ll also see that despite being unemployed, you’ve still worked to develop yourself.

Make sure your referees are well-briefed on your unemployment

If you’re unemployed, you will know that your references on your CV will be even more important. With that said, make sure you’ve briefed your referees on your work status.

To do this, have a discussion with your latest manager regarding your reasons for leaving, and what you’d like them to say if they’re contacted for a reference. Remember, companies may want two references, so you might have to do this with your previous manager, too. It’s also important to know that a company doesn’t have to give a reference by law, but if they do it must be fair and accurate.

A strong reference could provide you with validation especially when you’re unemployed. Make sure you use this to help your cause.

Write about any travels you’ve had on your CV

Suppose you travelled during unemployment this is another way to address being out of work on your CV. If you’re thinking you’d struggle to enhance this, you wont.

We suggest writing about how you soaked up a new environment, learned about different cultures and took in another way of life. This will impress companies because these experiences compare to starting a new job. In addition, if travelling was one of your goals, mention that too. Companies will see that even when you’ve been out work, you’ve kept a driven mindset which can easily apply in the workplace.

We understand addressing unemployment on your CV can be tough, but as long as you stay diplomatic and state what you gained, you can still extract the positives. Once you’ve made these changes, be sure to register your CV with us and browse the latest opportunities.

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