Resignation, end of a fixed-term contract, illness, parental leave, and even dismissal all these situations can happen at any time. They leave “holes” in our CV. But the problem is how to talk about it during an interview. Should we tell the truth or lie about it? We just have to talk about it well. Here’s how to do it.
What Does “Hole” Mean In A Resume?
The hole in a CV is the period of interruption of a professional activity. But this period can have different natures according to each situation. It can be :
- A period of job search following a decision to resign or a redundancy;
- A training period as part of a professional reorientation;
- A period of transition for personal reasons (moving, birth, death, etc.);
- And a period of interruption of employment to launch your own professional project.
To be able to present a hole in a CV correctly, it is essential to justify it well, especially if it exceeds 6 months. Don’t think that it is futile. On the contrary, many recruiters are interested in this period of “inactivity”. They will certainly ask you about the reasons for this “gap” regardless of the position you are applying for. If you need to write an insurance agent resume, for example, but you once held the reception position you just left several months ago, here are the questions they might ask:
- Why had you been inactive for so long?
- What did you do during this period of inactivity?
- Was it your choice?
- After this period, did you experience difficulties in finding a job?
- Or did you take advantage of this period to learn something new or were you constantly looking for a new job?
In short, your main objective is to approach this “hole” in a fairly professional manner. So you need to stay positive and honest in the way you present things so as not to make your new employer back down. There is no point in being defensive as this makes you look more at fault than you are. Give tangible explanations so that they can understand what really happened.
Preparing Well In Advance
Rather than being pressured about the questions you may be asked, the best thing to do is to prepare yourself in advance. You need to show yourself capable of overcoming this ordeal so that your future employer will trust you and award you the position you covet.
To Do This, Avoid These Few Points:
- Avoiding the subject;
- Lying or reinventing the story (on this point, don’t think the recruiter is fooled. He or she can easily verify the veracity of the things you tell them);
- Getting angry or in a bad mood or blaming someone else when asked about these holes;
- Bringing up irrelevant details about your personal life (especially if the reason for the gap is a death, a divorce, or a burn-out at work).
Instead, What You Need To Do Is:
– Own your downtime;
– Take the initiative to address the issue;
– Give explanations rather than justifications.
In an interview, if you are asked about these gaps, explain objectively the circumstances of the end of your contract and how you benefited from this period. This will allow your recruiter to measure your resilience, your adaptability to each situation that arises, your ability to bounce back and your agility.
Be In Line With Your Choices And Your Career Path
No one can say that they are 100% motivated to complete their tasks at work all the time. We all need a break. It’s only natural. Some people decide to quit their jobs simply to take a break or to move on to other opportunities. But when the period of inactivity is long enough, recruiters can certainly wonder about the reason for it. And when the reason is not good enough, such as a layoff, it becomes more difficult to talk about.
These are “healthy breaks”. To present them well, you must first accept and welcome them as “normal” and “beneficial” well before convincing others that they have not impacted your personal or professional life. In short, if you are convinced, you will easily convince others.
Putting It Into Perspective
Once you are convinced, you have to convince. Far from what you may think, any experience, whatever it is, can be turned into an asset if you know how to present it in a more convincing way.
Even if it’s irrelevant, say (if it is of course), for example, that during your 2 years of unemployment, you were able to build a new house and/or devote yourself to your family life. Just put in mind that you are not alone in this situation, especially with this Covid-19 health crisis.
Valuing Your Experiences
In order not to panic during the interview because of the holes in your CV, emphasize your interpersonal qualities or “soft-skills” and your “hard-skills”. Among the beneficial activities you can undertake during your period of inactivity, you can :
Seek new work opportunities to optimize your rigor, resilience and optimism;
- Join an association or do volunteer work to improve your team spirit, your communication and interpersonal skills, your project management, your cash management;
- Take a skills assessment with a view to professional reconversion to strengthen your self-confidence and your knowledge of yourself, your deepest personal and professional motivations, your introspection and your spirit of analysis and synthesis;
- Enroll in a training program to obtain certifications or diplomas to become more resilient, more rigorous and more regular in what you do;
- Take up a sports challenge or do high-level sports to strengthen your self-surpassing abilities, your team spirit, your physical strength, your agility and your flexibility;
- Project yourself in art to underline your creativity, your competence related to your discipline (drawing, painting, music, photography);
- And travel the world to improve your interpersonal skills, your communication skills, your flexibility, your organization, and your work techniques.