The economic turmoil we are experiencing is having some benefits. At the very least we can say it has led to an awakening where we question social norms such as the ethics in business and how to value the lives we live beyond financial measurements. One fundamental possession that is (or should) be as common to us all as a passport is a CV; and yes the recession has changed the way we view this too.
People are now reconsidering the importance of certain features of the orthodox CV: qualifications such as university degrees are considered by some employers to be subordinate to extra-curricular activities and sporting achievements for example. One thing that has not changed about CVs however is the scepticism that often surrounds gaps in employment. More people are finding gaps in their CVs but with the right approach to answering questions about them in interviews, you can turn this sign of apparent weakness into an impressive strength.
Honest Self Assesment:
Look at the gaps in your CV and ask yourself honestly why they exist. Whatever the reason, put a positive spin on them when answering interview questions. For example, if you left one job before finding another and were thus not working for several months, instead of saying you hated the job and decided to quit, assert the importance to you of working in a job you find fulfilling and present the gap as time taken to research what you really wanted to do. If you are finding it difficult to find interviews and job offers, be honest that this has extended the gap on your CV. However, rather than saying people are refusing to offer you interviews or work, tell the prospective employer that you have been very selective in your applications and acceptance of interviews and offers as you want the right job not any job.
If you are currently experiencing a gap in employment whilst searching for work, try and find some voluntary, charity or perhaps some freelance work or even a training course to show you are staying active. Crucial to employers is your attitude. They want to know that you are pro-active, socially engaged and learning new skills, not just sending out mass CVs via job boards during the adverts on daytime television.
If you find that you have been out of work for reasons beyond your control such as illness you can be honest about this too. An employer worth working for will empathise. You can also use this as a platform to display your strength, determination and resilience. Talk about how you will not let anything get in your way of attaining the job you want and mention lifestyle or dietary changes you may have made to improve your health to demonstrate your commitment.
Whatever the reason for gaps on your CV, dig beneath the surface of them and you will be able to provide a convincing justification that your prospective employer can understand (and maybe be impressed by).
This quick guide was written to us by Oliver at Legal Week Jobs – take these tips to heart and smooth over any rough patches in your interview.