Going to have a gap on CV / not worked in the last year due to crisis

(20 Posts)
alltoomuchrightnow Thu 16-Jan-14 16:06:52

Have never had gaps in employment until the last year (have no DC, worked since I was 16, now in early 40s)

My last paid day of work was Feb 2nd
Last week I started a volunteer job but soon I will be needing to look for paid work (I got the call yesterday that I'm no longer entitled to ESA....so will have to claim JSA - am waiting for forms/ letters to be sent to me)
(basically I had a breakdown last Feb after leaving DV... returned to abusive ex only to leave for good in Aug... it was a tough year where I was too unwell to work due to trauma /anxiety/upheaval/ homelessness)
How do I explain the huge gap? 11 months between last (paid) job and the next job (unpaid).
Eg in an interview (or on Cv).. what an earth do I say
It's going to put off an employer, isn't it?
I don't really want to lie. I could say my contract ended after 2 yr (as it was at the two year mark last Feb) but I'd still have to come up with another story of what I was doing all last year..
(and why I didn't return to paid work)
I really don't want to have to explain the DV / my leaving/, to a stranger, but should I be totally honest?

alltoomuchrightnow Thu 16-Jan-14 16:08:22

Wondering if most employers would be ok about the having done vol work too or think I could be liability and unable to cope. Whole point of vol work is to get me used to routine and hours again..am really enjoying it and getting some confidence back

alltoomuchrightnow Thu 16-Jan-14 16:10:13

Not so worried about the vol work as all kinds of people do it, eg in between jobs.. it's just that huge gaping 11 month gap where I can't say I had a baby/ jobsearched/ went travelling/ I really didn't do anything apart from counselling, therapy and trying to get my head back together

shoom Thu 16-Jan-14 16:10:31

If day something about personal circumstances that are now resolved, or family care needs that are now resolved.

Good luck!

shoom Thu 16-Jan-14 16:11:05

If day = I'd say

alltoomuchrightnow Thu 16-Jan-14 16:12:31

thanks Shoom. If they ask me to elaborate,should I?
I'm scared to go backto paid work too. I don't feel ready. Ive only just started the vol job as a means to get used to work again and already told I have to come off ESA and apply for paid work. I can feel the anxiety mounting up again.. I have PTSD and very bad insomnia. At least with vol work I can call in sick if need to and don't have pressure, set hours or targets

alltoomuchrightnow Thu 16-Jan-14 16:13:13

yeh i guess family care needs could be taking care of parent or something. Not true but I don't have to go too deep surely?!

Chocotrekkie Thu 16-Jan-14 16:14:27

Can't you just put 2011-2013 worked as xx at yyyy company.
Currently working in a voluntary position as xxx at yyyy company.

I think in the current times most employers know that it's been a tough few years and people have been made redundant etc.
I would be honest if they asked at interview - I had to leave work as I was made homeless due to dv and its taken me a few months to get back on my feet. I am now settled and keen to restart my career.

alltoomuchrightnow Thu 16-Jan-14 16:15:47

yes on cv i guess i could..then it's years listed not months.. and hope they don't want too much specific!

shoom Thu 16-Jan-14 16:47:01

You were looking after your family smile
I wouldn't pry further if I was running the interview, as the phrases suggested cover personal details that employers don't need to know about.

You weren't in jail, you weren't sacked, you've nothing to hide and should be proud of yourself. The key thing is to get the interviews that you want, you may be able to be vague on a CV or application form about the specific dates but don't worry if you can't. If asked during interview about specifics then be clear that the issues are permanently resolved.

Sillyoldcow Thu 16-Jan-14 17:16:01

I've got a gap in my CV for a similar time to you, although a different reason. I'm using career break as my explanation and if asked to elaborate I talk about having the opportunity to take a break to travel and to spend some time on my other interests. In reality I left my previous job for a medical time out as I needed a fairly major operation but I'm not prepared to discuss this at interview or on an application form.

BlueStringPudding Thu 16-Jan-14 17:22:50

You don't have to put dates on your CV, so you could just list the roles you've done in chronological order, perhaps with years duration (so '6 years' rather than '2001-2006').

That way a gap is not so obvious, and you would just need to think of a way of covering it at interview, which should be easier, as they've at that point decided they like your CV enough to interview..

2014ThisIsMyYear Thu 16-Jan-14 20:38:02

I've just had to read through over 100 CVs, and this is my tuppence worth.

Voluntary work is absolutely fine. I don't care if you were paid or not, I care about what your contribution was, how you developed in the role, and how it matches the requirements of the job (see my own thread called Please read the job description!)

Don't leave a gap on your CV. People will assume you have something to hide, or that you are sloppy in completing the form/your CV. One of mine wrote that from XX to YY she was resolving a medical issue. I'd be happy with that (other good suggestions above). If I asked you at interview for details, and you told me what you wrote in your OP, you would go up in my estimation.

As an aside, a few wrote that they'd brought up a family but only one expanded on the skills she developed during that time, ie budgeting, negotiating, time management. I liked that.

I don't altogether agree with Blue: either use proper dates, or structure your CV by skills and expertise. Wide date bands suggest (to me) something to hide: a band of 6 years could mean 3 jobs, fired after 1 week in each one!! (not you, obviously). Some organisations will ask you to complete their application form, and you may be forced to list employment chronologically. (In which case, please include your voluntary work in that list, so as not to confuse the reader.)

Good luck.

EBearhug Thu 16-Jan-14 21:35:22

Do a functional CV, focussing on skills, and then the dates aren't so prominent.

But I wouldn't be too worried. By our 40s, many people will have had breaks, for child-rearing, for illness, caring for elderly parents, following redundancy, in my case for travel. Unless you were serving a prison sentence, it shouldn't be a big obstacle.

BrownSauceSandwich Fri 17-Jan-14 22:19:20

Try not to worry too much... That 11 month gap feels huge to you, largely because it's tied up with an otherwise traumatic time in your life, but it probably won't see so significant to prospective employers. I think it's really telling that you've already dusted yourself off and got ripped into some volunteer work... That says a lot about your readiness to go ack to work, and your work ethic - be proud of it!

I was in a rather similar situation a few years ago, but my breakdown was work related stress. I took 6 months to get well, woke up one morning to find i was ready for action again, and got the first job I applied for. Of course the interview panel asked why I left my previous job, which was my Achilles heel, but I put on my best winning smile and truthfully said that, while the job had taught me many things, one of the things it had taught me was that the career was not for me! And I went on to talk about the positive things about my old job, and to put a positive spin on why I couldn't have stuck another minute of it. The point of this ramble is that a) we all have setbacks from time to time, b) we can be honest about it and still put a positive slant on it, and c) interviewers are human beings, and perfectly capable of common sense and sympathy.

You left your last job because, due to a change in personal circumstances, you couldn't give it the commitment you wanted to. An interview panel may or may not ask for more information. If they do, I'd be inclined to tell them just enough of the truth to explain the absence and make it clear that it's not ongoing... You had a difficult relationship breakdown (that's plenty, without mention of the really personal stuff). Then you sweep right along to the evidence that you've picked yourself up, got a voluntary job, and can't wait to get stuck into the next phase of your life.

alltoomuchrightnow Sat 18-Jan-14 00:18:32

that is so true, Brownsauce.... it is more than just a gap from work for me. It's when I walked out on everything and my whole world fell apart. So it would always feel bigger to me than anyone else.
thankyou everyone for replies. .am feeling a bit more confident now

lekkerslaap Sat 18-Jan-14 01:23:53

You took a sabbatical to renovate a house/care for a relative/take some time out?

I've taken time out for various reasons and have several gaps on my CV. I don't really see the problem. I don't have children so have never taken time out for them. I'm just honest. Most interviewers/colleagues are envious and I think it has made me a better employee as each time I have gone back full of energy and enthusiasm. I couldn't say that about a lot of colleagues who have been on the treadmill forever.

The protestant work ethic has a lot to answer for IMO...

MrsMargoLeadbetter Sat 18-Jan-14 14:06:15

Firstly well done for coming through what sounds like a terrible time.

I think one of the best pieces of job hunting advice I was given was "They only know what you tell them".

I am like you and would want to be honest/give context but actually a short "Family issues that are now resolved and won't happen again" should be enough. And make sure you then stay silent. After delivering the reasoning you could be tempted to say more/ramble - don't!

I would think it is v unlikely the prospective employer will then prob further. Let's face it they don't want to open an unknown and potentially emotional can of worms in the interview situ.

And as others have said there are ways to disguise it on your CV.

Also I know 11 months seems like a long time, as you have been working for 15/20 years it could be feasible you took a career break etc. And if is the only gap on your cv then you are doing well.

I truly hope you find a job v soon, after all you have been through you deserve it. thanks

alltoomuchrightnow Sat 18-Jan-14 18:32:14

thank you :-) I've been so upset and shaky this week. Doesn't help that ex won his appeal and is going to be back on full benefits and gets backdated too(yep, a wad of cash is going to help his drug and drink problems eh!). It's such a kick in the teeth to me that
a/ i couldnt work , and was on sickness, because of him
b/ abuse seems to be rewarded. Victims of abuse get kicked when they are down, even when trying to help themselves in every way as i have been.
I think it should be means tested. Certain people should be exempt from receiving benefits. Harsh maybe, but i've had enough. I still have no home or paid job, now no money coming in till JSA sorted. My ex boasted that he'd play the 'la la card' (to quote him) and that he'd win... (despite his addictions he's extremely cunning and manipulative..)why can't they look at police record etc. .he should be exempt.
MrsMargo, I've worked since i was 16.. now 42.. it's a long time.. i've had a few brief periods of unemployment where i did vol work..and 5 months spent travelling..and that really is it. For 11 yrs i'd not had any breaks at all.. until last year

justdrankacappuccino Sun 19-Jan-14 13:36:16

Op, you've had a very hard time.

Look to the future now. Your ex is no longer part of the picture so take your focus off him and think about yourself now. Be kind to yourself and get yourself out there and find a fab new job. You will feel far better once you are back in work and back in the real world.

To be honest, I think I would tell potential employers I had taken time off to care for an elderly relative. I think it sounds more than plausible and it would take the focus off what has happened.

Chin up and best of luck!

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