Are career gaps common?
How do I explain career gaps in my CV and interviews?
Do employers care about career gaps?
These are some questions about career gaps I keep getting asked on repeat! And in fact, these are questions that I used to obsess with before I had a career gap in my career.
So I have a few pieces of advice with hindsight
1. Your first career break is the only time you will worry about a career gap
So I'll start off with some good news- your first career break is the only time you will worry about a career gap. If you are a top performer, have some faith in that.
And if this is your first time taking a gap year, you probably will not believe me, like I didn’t believe the folks who tried easing my anxiety before my first employment gap. BUT...
Think about it. Who are the people who worry about career gaps?
Generally, ambitious people, top performers who are diligent. They want to get results. They are quite responsible and serious about their career. These are the people who worry about career gaps, not the average person who is day to day and working job to job. So just the fact that you are worried about a career gap says a lot about your work ethics. Have some faith!
2. You only need to worry if you have not “grown” during a gap
The next bit is a bit counterintuitive. When do you really need to worry about a career gap?
It is when you know you're not acquiring any skills during that gap.
No life skills. No tech skills. No soft skills.
Basically, you are not growing during the gap.
That is when I would worry about things.
As long as you have grown in a gap and can demonstrate that in your CV and interview using those transferable skills, I would not worry.
3. You don’t need to worry about short breaks when you’re in a creative job that’s future proof
But if you have a job, that is future proof, i.e. if you work in a job where you are quite creative you don’t need to worry to much. By creative, I don't mean you have to be an artist or a painter or a musician. If you are quite creative at problem-solving, which I know most of you are, you don't necessarily need to worry, because creative jobs will always have a place. And creative problem solving will always be valuable.
But then who needs to worry?
Say, for example, if you are a customer service agent who is basically looking up a ton of sheets and information and giving answers back to their clients. Or if you are doing some sort of a data entry job, or very process-driven software testing job… that is when I would worry.
If your job is mechanical, it can be automated, and that is exactly why I am so passionate while talking about the future of work and what it means to all of us.
And that is also why I'm so passionate about learning and constantly developing ourselves for the new job market to be a better person, a better human being, a better professional. And also to future proof and risk proof our careers.
But I digress… Anyway! When can you stop worrying about your career?