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Should I Mention a Career Break on My CV? How Do I Explain a Career Break?

Your resume (CV) is a snapshot of your professional journey, highlighting your skills, experiences, and achievements. But what do you do when your career path takes a detour, and you find yourself facing a career break? The decision to mention a career break on your CV and how to explain it is an important one. Let’s delve into the considerations and strategies to help you make the right choices.

Should You Mention a Career Break?

The answer to whether you should mention a career break on your CV depends on several factors:

1. Relevance to the Job:

Consider whether your career break is relevant to the position you’re applying for. If the break provided valuable experiences or skills, such as traveling, volunteering, or gaining caregiving experience, it may be worth mentioning.

2. Length of the Break:

Shorter career breaks, such as a few months, may not require detailed explanation, especially if they don’t relate to the job you’re seeking. Longer breaks, however, may warrant a mention.

3. Honesty and Transparency:

Honesty is generally the best policy. Gaps in your work history can raise questions, and it’s often better to address them proactively rather than leaving potential employers to wonder.

4. Positive Outcomes:

If your career break led to personal growth, skill development, or other positive outcomes, sharing these experiences can strengthen your candidacy.

How to Explain a Career Break:

Once you’ve decided to mention your career break, the next step is to explain it effectively on your CV:

1. Use a Chronological Resume:

If your career break was relatively recent, consider using a chronological resume format, which lists your work history in reverse chronological order. This format minimizes the focus on gaps in your employment.

2. Be Honest but Concise:

In your CV, provide a brief, honest explanation for the career break. You don’t need to go into great detail, but a concise statement can help clarify the gap.

3. Emphasize Relevant Skills:

If your career break involved activities or experiences that are relevant to the job, emphasize these skills or achievements. For example, if you learned a new language, managed a project, or acquired caregiving skills, highlight them.

4. Address It in Your Cover Letter:

Your cover letter provides an opportunity to explain the career break in more detail. Use this space to showcase the value you gained from the break and how it makes you a stronger candidate.

5. Focus on the Present and Future:

Shift the narrative toward your present and future career aspirations. Mention how the skills and lessons from your career break have prepared you for the role you’re applying for.

6. Offer Professional References:

If possible, provide references from the period before and after the career break to vouch for your qualifications and work ethic.


In the ever-evolving world of work, career breaks are not uncommon. Whether you should mention a career break on your CV and how you explain it depends on the circumstances and relevance to your target job. When handled thoughtfully, a career break can be positioned as a valuable experience that contributes to your overall skill set and personal growth. Remember, transparency and a positive outlook can go a long way in demonstrating your readiness for the next step in your career journey.