Gap in employment history, affects employment chances?

Discussion about jobs and employment conditions

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Gap in employment history, affects employment chances?

Unread post by dave44 » 31 Aug 2008, 20:03

I've just become TEFL certified and am starting to write my CV/resume to start looking for work.

However I'm worried about a big gap in my employment history. I went to university in 2006 but left after two weeks because of self confidence/couldn't handle it reasons.

I was looking for a job after that but could never bring myself to apply for it, due to a combination of issues including anxiety, lack of confidence and depression. I ended up going to counselling sessions for a few months.

Before I knew it a year and a half had passed before I finally realised what the core issue was and after spending 3 months getting TEFL certified I really feel ready to get out in the world and start my life again.

My question is, how can I put this huge gap in my employment history on my CV/resume without any prospective employer throwing it in the trash? I don't want to lie on it but I'm having trouble working out a way to explain the time in a way that will benefit me.

Many thanks

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Re: Gap in employment history, affects employment chances?

Unread post by learn_spanish_mexico » 01 Sep 2008, 20:10

If there is a gap in your employment history, it is not necessarily bad. You do however need to explain it, and I would recommend against telling them about your anxiety and confidence issues. Don't lie, but come up with a well prepared answer like "I was finding myself"... ok, something better than that, but you get my point.

The biggest questions would be, have you gotten over your issues, because if not, you may be able to get a job, but not able to keep it.

Hope this helps.

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Re: Gap in employment history, affects employment chances?

Unread post by systematic » 02 Sep 2008, 09:54

Hi Dave,

Two things:
If you are intending to obtain work in your home country (UK? USA?) where headhunters are sensitive about employment gaps - they might think you've been in jail ;) - Learn-Spanish-Mexico gives some good advice.

If you are thinking of getting work abroad, recruiters are not in the slightest bit interested in employment gaps, after all you might have taken a gap year and gone backpacking in Nepal, or hunting tigers in East Africa. They are only interested in the parts of your CV that concern teaching or the ability to teach. However, you might find it very challenging to find a teaching job abroad without a degree (in any subject).
I offer any information or advice 'as is' and hope that it has been of help. I am not an admin of this board, and my postings do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the board management.
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Re: Gap in employment history, affects employment chances?

Unread post by Alex Case » 02 Jan 2009, 09:20

It is true that most schools won't even notice a gap on your CV, but this is a sign of the low standards of our industry and therefore of the kinds of schools that are best to avoid. TEFL teachers with criminal records and other things to hide are not unheard of, and so the two most professional schools I got jobs with asked me questions about the bits I'd missed out on my CV (3 years of care work that didn't seem relevant and didn't fit into the two sides of A4) FIRST!

In contrast, a school I worked for that wasn't so professional took someone who had had mental health problems and had been told by the employment agency (owned by the chain of schools) that it was fine and he would get support, and then got sacked 3 months into the job because he was acting strange and getting complaints from students.

It's difficult to find a way round this that doesn't involve lying or at least hiding it, and therefore leaving you completely unable to talk to your future employers about it if you do have problems adjusting to the new country etc. Were you doing anything at the time that could be relevant to your application, e.g. studying a language or travelling? Do you have enough relevant skills and experience to be able to write a functional CV rather than a chronological one?

You didn't ask our advice on this, but I've known several people who have gone abroad with or after recovering from depression and other personal problems and if everything goes great, especially your love life, it can help sort you out or at least give you some distance from your problems. Should problems occur, though, you will need to make sure that you have quickly made a support network of real friends, that you don't burn your bridges back home, that you can get hold of any medication you might need etc.
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