Answering tough aviation interview questions: Why is there a gap in your CV?

Aviation interviews are stressful, there’s no getting away from that.  However, if you’re well prepared and focus on keeping your stress in check there is no reason why everything shouldn’t go swimmingly well.  When it comes to preparation for your interview, you’ll find some great tips and hints here. However, when it comes to specific questions, a particularly tough one can be explaining why there is a gap in your CV.

In reality there are any number of reasons why you might have a gap in your CV.  These include pleasurable events such as taking a well-earned break to travel the world and spending time with children, to less pleasant things like sickness and redundancy.  No matter what the reason for a gap in your CV, there was good reason at the time that you either chose to be out of the workplace or circumstance dictated that things were that way.  As a result, it’s essential that when the time comes to explain the gap in your CV that you turn it around to your advantage.

  • Make sure you’re prepared. Like any tough aviation interview question, when it comes to explaining a gap in your CV, preparation is your best friend.  If you’re prepared with a good response, this potentially awkward question won’t throw you.  So use our checklist and plan ahead.

  • Be creative. While you need to remain honest at all times, there is no reason why a small gap in your career history can’t be so ‘buried’ in your CV that it’s (virtually) unnoticeable.  That said, if the gap is significant, it’s always best to be upfront and upbeat about it.

  • Make honesty your best policy. While there is no need to go into the gap in too much detail, there are rarely good reasons to lie about it.  Whatever you do, don’t even be tempted to tinker with dates of previous employment to cover it up, because this could land you in more hot water than being straight about it.

  • If the gap is now, describe your use of it wisely. If the gap in your CV is now, you need to think on your feet and turn it to your advantage.  It could be that you are using your gap period to extend your training or to volunteer for a useful cause.  Either way, making it clear to any potential employer that you’re not using your time sitting around watching day-time TV, rather using it to enhance your skills or employability will stand you in good stead.

  • Turn the gap to your advantage. Describing the same situation in different ways puts a whole different slant on perception.  For example, saying that you have a gap in your CV because you decided to throw in the towel at a job you couldn’t handle any more and then “found yourself” travelling around Europe could make you seem irresponsible and hot-headed.  However, in this same situation, if you say that you set yourself an objective to take time to travel around Europe; saved up for it and then resigned, that gives a whole different perspective.  So, no matter the reason, try to dress it up in such a way that reinforces the characteristics you have highlighted in your CV and covering letter. 

  • Give good reasons. No matter how you decide to dress up your reasons, make sure they are credible.  If you’ve had a situation whereby you needed to take time off to care for a sick relative, make sure you give the impression that you’re proud to have been in the position to help and that the responsibility has now been passed to someone else or that the person is now back to full health.  This will make it clear that what once might have been an issue is no longer an issue.

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