Sabbatical year to travel, stretched parental leave, stop to care for a sick relative… Many situations can cause more or less holes in the CV. How to manage these absences from the world of work when looking for a job?
Tip number one: above all, don’t lie. Trying to hide the reasons why you stopped working or changed your previous employment dates is a very bad idea. According to Xavier Thorens, CHRP and president of Thorens Solutions, the most important thing is honesty. “If the candidate is able to explain the reasons for his or her holes, it won’t hinder the job search,” he assures.
Give a clear explanation
When writing your CV, Xavier Thorens advises you to fill in the gaps and add a short explanatory sentence directly in the document. “The recruiter will have the information directly in hand and will therefore be reassured,” he says. In addition, the cover letter is a good support to detail the reasons for these absences from the job market. “The recruiter will then have the opportunity to call the candidate for more precise explanations,” says Xavier Thorens.
Valuing what you have learned
In order to give yourself the best possible chance when you return to the job market, you need to build on the courses you have taken and the different experiences you have had over time. “Achievements are like the midpoint of your CV,” says Xavier Thorens. In addition, he advises that you describe your skills well. “Skills still have value in the market, despite gaps in the CV,” he adds.
Skills-based resume to reduce gaps in the resume?
In order to hide long absences from work, some candidates choose their CV by skills. However, in the world of recruiters, this type of CV is not always well perceived.
“I’m simply against CVs based on skills,” explains Xavier Thorens. For him, this type of CV hinders a good reading of the candidate’s background and complicates the recruiter’s work, in addition to giving the impression that the person has something to hide. “In the CV, we want to see your career path, so don’t distort it,” he adds.
When reading a CV, the recruiter will look for these four elements to find out if the person is right for the job: the relevance of the candidate, the consistency of his or her background, the stability of the candidate and the location. A CV by skills will make this analysis less easy. “An employer will want a profile that is as turnkey as possible for a position to be filled. Recruitment goes fast, so don’t waste time,” says Xavier Thorens.
However, relying on one’s skills, especially when there are gaps in one’s CV, remains a central element in the job search. “It is possible to make something hybrid, a chronological CV, but which could highlight skills, training, experience, achievements…” explains Xavier Thorens.