How to Explain Career Break in Your CV?

You have taken some time off from your career and now you are ready to go back to work. You want to explain the career break in your CV. Consider the below tips when updating your CV to show the employers what you have learnt while you have been away.

Business Woman Writing Notes

What job do you want?

You need to think about the role that you want to apply for so you can tailor your CV accordingly. Do you want to go back to the same job you had last? Do you want to have a career change?

It is important that you apply for jobs that suit your needs especially if your commitments have changed. Consider the different contract options such as full-time vs part-time or freelance work. Being clear about your career choices will make it easier for you to explain to employers why you want to work for them. You will seem more passionate and will be more focused when applying for new jobs.

Why did you take a career break?

One of the first things you will need to explain in your CV is why you left work and why you are looking to return. This doesn’t need to be long or detailed. Just a few short lines at the top of your CV. It is all about how you present your career break. If it’s for a valid reason, you can show what you have learnt from it, then an employer will look past through any CV gaps.

Filling the gaps

In the details under work experience, mention the dates of your career breaks. Write something short and straight to the point such as (Took a career break to look after my children). There is nothing wrong with taking a career break. The most important thing is to not leave any gaps in your cv that will keep employers wondering. Gaps will cause lack of trust and will give a feeling that you are trying to hide something.

New skills

It is important to tell employers what you have learnt during your career gap. No matter what the reason of your break was, you must have picked a few new skills and experiences. Looking after children? You will have great budgeting, time management, negotiation and organization skills. Travelling career break? You will have learnt about other cultures or learnt a new language.

It is very useful to include any voluntary work such as raising money or membership in PTA committees. You would have skills such as project management, communication skills, PR, or marketing skills.

Make sure you mention skills, achievements and other experiences that you have picked up in your previous jobs in your CV. This information would give employers a better idea about you in a more personal way which will help them fit you in the right job even if it wasn’t related to your last job before the break.

Keep learning

While updating your CV and applying for a new job, use that time to learn new skills or take short courses. This will give you added value to include on your cv. You can also try to do some freelance or part-time work which could be a great way to bring you back to the working field. Try to keep things related to the new job that you are applying for.

Mentioning this on your CV will show employers that you are serious about returning to work and committed to doing your job.


No matter how long you have been away from work, your first reference contact should always be your previous employer.

But if you don’t have previous work experience or have lost contact of your last employer, mention a personal reference that can speak for your character and general work ethics. Avoid using friends and family as references to gain more credibility. Your best bet is someone who has dealt with you in a professional environment such as a former colleague, client or teacher.


Finally, remember that going back to work after a career break could be a good way for you to have a career change. Put a lot of thought in the job that you want to apply for in order to customize your CV accordingly.