How to explain gaps in your employment

Do you have gaps in your employment history? Are you worried that these gaps could cause you problems when looking to find a job? You are not alone. Few people are able to say that they have been in continuous employment throughout their working life.

What can you do about gaps in your employment history? How should explain gaps in your employment history?

1. Hide the gap

Sometimes gaps in your employment history are so small that there is little point in drawing attention to them in your CV or application. A simple way to do this is just to provide the years of your employment rather than the months. For example, when referring to the duration of your employment you would state, “2012 to 2013” as opposed to “April 2012 to December 2012”.

2. Style the gap

If you are worried about gaps in your employment history then you might want to avoid a strictly chronological style CV. Instead, why not consider a skills based CV that emphasizes your skills and achievements at the start? This gives you the chance to impress the employer before they notice the gaps in your employment history.

To view examples of different styles of CV visit: CV Basics

3. Explain the gap

If you have a gap in your employment history of more than 12 months it is likely that the employer will notice it. Consequently, the employer might ask you about this gap during the interview. If this is the case then it is best to have prepared an answer in advance. They key to a good answer is to be positive and produce an response that demonstrates how you are suitable for this job.

If you have a gap because you took time away to raise a family or to care for your family then be honest and state this as the reason. Then revert back to your previous experience, qualifications and achievements that demonstrate how you are suitable for the job. For example;

“Between 2010 and 2012 I was not in formal employment as I was caring for my child. Prior to this I was employed for X years at X company. During this period of employment I was a highly regarded member of the company, utilising my skills and experience to…”

More tips to help you find a job

Sometimes you might have a gap in your employment history because you are unable to find work. Employers understand the labour market in Zambia is extremely competitive and that most people will have gaps in their employment history. What you need to remember is to be positive and proactive during periods when you are not working. Here are some things that you can do during these periods that will make you more employable;

If you do this then you will be able to provide an answer such as;

“Between 2011 and 2012 I was studying. I undertook a number of courses/voluntary roles that I think will be of use to me in this role. These courses/voluntary roles included…”


Most people will have gaps in their employment history. It is not unusual and is certainly nothing that should stop you from applying for jobs or attending job interviews.

Further Information

To find more free careers advice in Zambia just visit: Careers Advice

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