How to write a CV after a career break

man looking at a CV, curriculum vitae, resumeThere are a number of reasons you might have taken a career break, perhaps you lost your last job, you decided to go travelling or you took some time out to raise a family.

Whatever the case, a career break is nothing to be ashamed of!

Despite this, we are often led to believe that taking some time out can make finding our next job difficult. While it’s true employers may be wary of big gaps on a CV, if you address your career break effectively many will look past this.

Below, we’ll take a look at how you can write a great CV and address the gap after a career break.

Choose the best structure for you

Recruiters will spend between 10 to 30 seconds reading your CV, so if you don’t grab their attention immediately, you could find your application being rejected. This is why structure is so important, you want the most relevant information to be nearer the top, usually in the first quarter of your CV.

If you’re worried about addressing a career break, you could put your employment history further down the page and instead place greater focus on your personal profile and key skills sections. This will help to keep the recruiter engaged before they learn about your break.

Address the break

Remember, a career break is not a bad thing and you can put a positive spin on it, so it’s often best to address this on your CV. To do this, you can include a sentence in your personal profile or at the beginning of your employment history. Some examples of this could be:

  • After six months travelling I am now ready to rejoin the {name of industry}
  • Whilst raising my family I was able to take an online course in {subject} and am now looking for an exciting career opportunity in {name of industry}
  • After being made redundant I took some time out to re-evaluate my career goals

Add any new skills or qualifications

As we said, a career break can be a good thing and you may have even gained some new skills. These could be hard or soft skills and can be a great addition to your CV.

For example, if you’ve been travelling perhaps you learnt a new language or you had a chance to work on your organisational skills. Alternatively, if you’ve been made redundant or fallen ill you may have learnt how to overcome challenges and motivate yourself to start afresh.

So, update your CV accordingly with any new skills or qualifications you have gained since your last job – being sure to tailor towards to the job descriptions of your new target roles.

Shout about your achievements

Showcasing your achievements from past roles can show how you’ve added value to businesses in the past. Employers are looking for real examples of how you’ve made a difference, so be sure to shout about these throughout.

If a recruiter is impressed by your achievements they may be less focussed on your career break as you can clearly prove your worth.

It’s time to write your CV

It’s vital to remember that a career break can happen for a number of reasons and is therefore nothing to be ashamed of. Always address the gap on your CV and never lie about what you’ve been doing in that time.

By carefully choosing your structure and shouting about any new skills you have gained, you can land your next job in no time.

andrew-fennell-headshotAbout the author

Andrew Fennell is the founder of CV writing advice website StandOut CV—he is a former recruitment consultant and contributes careers advice to publications like Business Insider, The Guardian, and The Independent.


Are you looking to return to work after a career break? Searching for advice and tips? WeAreTheCity has a whole dedicated section to returnships and returning to work. You can find open returnship opportunities, advice for experts about returning to work and tips on flexible working

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