Should you mention a career break in your CV (resume)? Yes, always fill in the gaps in your career. You may be wondering how to go about mentioning a career break, so it receives positive attention from recruiters.
In this business blog article, we have a few tips for you on how to write or update your CV after a career break, or job loss that results in an extended break from employment, including:
- Honesty pays
- Focus on the positive
- How to use a functional resume format
6 Tips For Adding A Career Break In Your Resume
1. Address it upfront and honestly
Employment gaps must be included in your CV when applying for job postings, which can bring several positive benefits. Your life situation is unique, and many employers would appreciate that perspective. They understand that everyone’s career path is different and non-linear, with different timelines. So, be honest about it.
Including your career gap in your CV gives it context and allows you to showcase your career gap positively. Be prepared with an explanation as to why you have had the career break. You can eliminate all stereotypical negative assumptions associated with career breaks.
2. Include a summary or objective
Describe your career break using an objective or summary at the beginning of your job application where you include the reason for taking the break.
Explain how it sets you up for your next assignment or position. It works best if you are searching for a job soon after the break.
Use copywriting experts skilled at industry-specific summaries. A marketer or salesperson would also be a good choice for helping you with your summary, as you always write positive content. Even the main types of CVs, i.e. chronological, functional need you to include unique cover letters per application to increase your chances of getting an interview call.
On the other hand, people who held steady jobs after the break may want to reference it in the cover letter or the experience section. That way, you get an opportunity to also mention the job break when you are being interviewed. Explaining employment gaps with a positive perspective is the hallmark of a successful job search effort.
3. Avoid showing months of employment.
Another good way of addressing your employment break is by avoiding using months in the resume. Include only the years when mentioning past positions. That can make your break seem more rational in the grand context of your career life. This reminds recruiters that your break is a short time during your professional history.
Leaving months off and listing only the years can effectively disguise the gaps in work history. In other words, only mention years in the employment history section of your resume. The key is to remain consistent. Do not mention months for only some jobs but not others.
4. List it like a job
List your break in the employment history as an accomplishment or a sabbatical. Treat it as another part of your career life or as a job. Instead of listing it as a job held in a company, you can use phrases such as “personal sabbatical” or “family leave” to account for periods when you were out of the labor market.
If you acquired any special skills, did a freelance job, or completed volunteer assignments, you can mention them under the sabbatical section in bullet points. You may have been involved in some activities relevant to your desired position. In that case, you can mention them to embellish your job application success.
5. Use a functional CV format
When you have not been working for years, the best format to use is a functional resume format, which is skills-based. A resume focused on skills lists your job history, considering the abilities and aptitudes you attained in aggregate. This type of CV is known as a functional resume.
A functional resume frames your experience with relevant skills and not each job held. Here you can also include the skills you developed while volunteering or any course certificates you obtained while unemployed. But you must briefly explain the job gap in the summary section at the top of your resume.
6. Shout out past achievements
Exhibiting your past achievements can showcase the value you have added to businesses positively. Employers would appreciate real examples of your accomplishments that are directly related to the current position you are applying for. Create a separate section in your functional resume to highlight achievements.
A hiring manager who is impressed and convinced about your accomplishments will focus less on the gaps in your career history. So, the idea is to prove to the recruiter that you have what it takes to be successful in your current job. By carefully structuring your achievements, landing your next job can be more manageable.
A career break happens for several reasons to most people. You may have stayed at home as a parent to babysit a newborn child or to look after a sick parent. Some people join the military or become freelancers due to either being fed up as an employee or having been let go or made redundant unexpectedly.
Breaks in work history are a normal part of career life. How you present the break in your CV is important. Therefore to show honesty, you must address it when applying for jobs. Use our tips to get off on the right path with no gaps in your resume.