Gaps in my CV - How Can I Fill Them?

The gaps in your CV will definitely be asked about in the interview. So it helps to think about the gaps in advance. It's best to specify in your CV what you did in the relevant periods. That way you have the answers to hand for the interview.

What is a classic gap in a CV? Generally speaking, anything that lasts longer than two or three months is called a gap in your CV. You should avoid these gaps. Instead, you can simply describe the activity, further training or orientation phase you were in during this time.

This is because HR managers in the company are always looking for a reason for the gap. In most cases, they immediately have unfavorable assumptions. For example, there are very critical assumptions that cast the content of the CV in a particularly negative light. The candidate was probably unemployed during this time. And perhaps even for good reason, because he has personal or professional deficits. Was he dismissed? Another assumption concerns private difficulties of a financial or family nature. These problems can even be so serious that they prevent an employee from working undisturbed. Every employer will try to identify such disruptive factors in advance.


The gaps disappear - a practical tip for your CVLebenslauf

A very simple piece of advice is to indicate the periods of time in your CV by month. The internship, which lasted from March 15 to May 9, becomes a three-month commitment by specifying the months. This is because the internship is presented as such in the CV:

03/2016 - 05/2016 Internship at Success GmbH, Düsseldorf


Looking for work in the gap

Another tip for your CV is to replace the term "unemployed" with "looking for work". This is because being "unemployed" is already perceived negatively from a purely psychological point of view. Unemployed people are seen as lacking prospects, disappointed and sometimes work-shy and lazy. Jobseeker, on the other hand, refers to an active state of searching. The result of your search can be described in your CV as a period of "professional reorientation".


As a career starter - have the courage to leave a gap

Watch out, when choosing a career. You can take up to six months to think things over before deciding on a career. Recruiters allow up to six months as a grace period. Ideally, you can make good use of the interim period with practical days, internships and further training. Only complete inactivity is a taboo. And so is an excessively long time period for consideration. Personnel decision-makers also know that starting a career can be complicated. After all, you can't have any work experience yet. And who would write you a reference? So don't worry about it here.

Changing your field of study

The first subject is not the right one. If it takes you a few semesters to find the subject that suits you better, that's not a disaster. It simply means that you have the ability to assess your limits and have learned over time where your strengths lie. With around 450 universities, universities of applied sciences and academies in Germany offering over 18,000 degree courses, 9,000 Bachelor's degree courses and 8,000 Master's degree courses, you first have to find the right course for you. The waiting time for a study place can also give you an advantage. Waiting times due to the numerus clausus are proof of perseverance and stamina. After all, you knew exactly what you wanted and the waiting time didn't put you off your path. So if you have a gap before or during your studies, you can count on understanding everywhere.

Your year abroad

You saved a lot of money and spent a year abroad after graduating from high school. There you acquired language skills and gained intercultural experience. Many employers expect you to have spent time abroad because they value the independence and autonomy that young applicants can gain there. So write in your CV which languages you have learned and to what quality. If you have been involved in voluntary work, describe the type of activity and what professional experience you have gained. Having worked abroad shows even more how well you can integrate. Include your language skills in the "Knowledge" section of your CV. If your experience was more of a professional nature, your stay abroad should be included under the heading "Professional experience".

Experience abroad in the form of work & travel programs and au pair stays are also welcome. Here you have already gained your first professional experience. Employers are interested in your language skills and intercultural competence. Describe the type of activity and what you learned there in particular. Employers like to hear about experience abroad, as social skills and openness towards other cultures are highly valued in a working world that relies heavily on international cooperation.

A short unemployment spell

Such career breaks are inevitable in any good career today. If your period of unemployment is only brief, you need not worry about mentioning it. Present these weeks or a few months in a positive light. What were you able to do during this time to find a new job? How ambitious were you in your search for further training? The recipient of your application can see very clearly how you were able to fight your way out of a difficult situation.


A longer period of unemployment

For some people, prolonged unemployment leaves a big gap in their CV. Most people are not completely idle during such an interruption. Hardly anyone is really lazy. The following strategy will do the trick for you: Continue to send out an application once or twice a week and at the same time look at which seminars, further training and internships will benefit you personally and professionally. The employment agency can be a valuable source of advice here, as it provides a good overview of providers of further training courses. What professional subject were you interested in during your job search? Have you acquired general knowledge of Office programs such as Word and Excel through self-study and can you work in them or have you been able to set up a website? Which languages did you learn because you felt that only English and French were simply not enough? Where have you volunteered with charitable organizations? Malteser Hilfsdienst, environmental year in Romania or lunch table for children - where have you helped? Then these are topics that you need to include in your CV. Because this is where you can show some real plus points. This is exactly what your potential new employer wants to know.


You have been self-employed

In addition to further training, you can also fill the break in your professional career with self-employed activities that you pursue in the desired professional field and on a small scale alongside your actual job search. So you started a self-employed activity and ran it successfully for a few years. But then you realized, for example, that you were doing the wrong thing as a lone fighter and that a permanent position suited you better. Perhaps self-employment was too much stress for you or didn't bring in enough money. So you decide to switch from self-employment to employment. In your case, nobody can call it a failure, because you have gained an important insight for your life and drawn a suitable conclusion from it. You should describe this phase of independence and gaining knowledge in your CV. HR managers can recognize your great commitment and courage in your independence. Independent action and knowledge of the bigger picture are also highly sought after in many companies. You have been self-employed

Why a video self-presentation is particularly helpful when there are gaps in your CV

Would you like to present yourself in an unusual and modern way? Then a self-presentation in a video is exactly the right solution. Present your professional career and your personal skills in a video lasting just a few minutes. The video is easily created using your smartphone. This allows you to harness the power of moving images and convey much more information in a short space of time than would have been possible with text. In the video, you can show your personality and convey your attitude and motivation.

The CV in text form may still leave the recruiter with some doubts about you. But your video will be so convincing that you will be invited for an interview. Lengthy and tedious reading of the same application texts over and over again is now a thing of the past for the recipient of your video.

With a video, you can better address the gaps in your CV and present your strengths so convincingly that no one will doubt you. Your video will make you appear likeable, imaginative and yet serious. In the application video, you describe your personal development and the experiences that have advanced your development. You can find out which experiences have led you to a self-awareness that has advanced your life and thinking. Focus on your strengths. These will show recruiters what an asset you will be to the company. An application video doesn't have to be very long. You can get your message across in two to three minutes in a short and snappy way. The only way to top the video usage is to record several short videos. One on motivation (it should complement the content of your cover letter), one on your CV and one on your special skills and knowledge (this video then complements your skills summary). Don't be afraid to try new things, as these could be the key to success.


Keep calm

The gap in your CV is not a disaster. You should just know how to deal with it. With a meaningful description of the job, your development and possible changes that took place during the period, the gaps are eliminated.

Whether as a career starter or student in an orientation phase, as a language student or volunteer or as a job seeker in further training - you can gain valuable experience everywhere that employers want to hear about. If you present yourself in a positive light, the gap becomes a benefit for you. Unemployed was yesterday, today you are active and looking for work or are pursuing a career change.

Video applications also open up new opportunities for applicants. Your personality and skills can be presented much more vividly and authentically. All viewers are simply enthusiastic about application videos. So why not just take the plunge?