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CV: how to deal with a period of unemployment?

CV: how to deal with a period of unemployment?

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Table of contents

Reasons that may lead to a period of unemployment

What are the main reasons why a person in France has periods without work? Here is a non-exhaustive list. This will already give you some idea of how to present this period on your CV.

The gap year
After several years of intense study or professional activity, some people want to take a gap year. They use it to travel, enjoy their loved ones and daily life, or to think about what they want to do professionally in the future. They can also use this year to get involved in community work (humanitarian trips, local associations, etc.). In this case, the experience acquired in the voluntary sector can be highlighted on the CV and become a plus.

Poor educational or training orientation
You may have followed a training course that offers few job opportunities, or where the job opportunities are not attractive to you. In this case, you may find it difficult to find a job. Either because it simply does not exist, or because it is not suitable for you.
Again, it is possible to make the most of this period if you have been able to bounce back and take advantage of it to follow a new course in another sector.

Stopping during the training year
You stopped during the year and did not find a job until the following year. Fortunately, this only lasts for a few months in this case.

A real period of unemployment
Often beyond your control, linked to the economic context.

Personal problems
To prevent burn-out or because of certain life events, some people are forced to stop working for a while.

Let us now look at what needs to be done regardless of the cause of this period of unemployment.

What you can do on your CV

There is one trick that works almost every time: think about how you present your periods of professional activity.
If you have only been out of work for a few months, this may go completely unnoticed. Simply list the positions by year, for example :
2016-2019: Electrician at EDF
2019-2021: electrician at Enercoop
This way, even if you were unemployed for 9 months in 2016 and 5 months in 2021, this will not show up on your CV at all.
So think about how best to present the periods of activity in terms of the length of the positions you have held.

The other thing you should do is to highlight any non-work activities you did during the break. For example :
- training (even online such as MOOC or non-qualifying);
- volunteering ;
- humanitarian ;
- etc.

Any activity that may have provided you with important skills in a professional context is worth mentioning.

What not to do on your CV

On the contrary, this is what you should not do:
- mention the word "unemployment". This word has a negative connotation. If you still want to highlight the period without work, highlight what you did. For example, a period of voluntary work in an association, participation in collaborative projects, humanitarian missions, etc. ;
- invent a false job. Some employers might check this information and take your lie very badly. Others may ask you unsettling questions during an on-the-spot interview about this pseudo-work activity;
- talk about any health or personal problems you have had. This may frighten the employer, and is probably embarrassing for you.

You now have in mind the tricks you can use if you have experienced a period of unemployment. Remember to be sincere and not to invent false professional activities, as this could backfire. In addition, there are ways of making this period of unemployment an advantage rather than a disadvantage for your future recruiters.

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Based on 408 reviews