Nervous young woman in her job interview

Know Your Rights: Can The Gaps In My CV Be Used Against Me?

There are many reasons why jobseekers have gaps in their CVs. It could be due to sickness or disability. It could be because of going travelling. But it could also be because of a term in prison. (It’s why Quids in! recommends thinking differently about CVs, changing them to summarise our past and focus on the future. See our article on ‘Clear Vision CVs’.)

If there is a gap on the CV because a disability was not yet under control, and we’ve shared this with the employer, they should not use this as the reason not to offer the job. If the employer does ask about our absence history, we could answer by explaining the condition is now under control. We can reassure them we will be a reliable worker. 

If we have a criminal record, it is possible for criminal convictions to be regarded as ‘spent’. (More about this: If a conviction is spent, employers should not take any action against us if they find out about them. Unless an exception applies, (*see below), you can answer “no” if you are asked at interview if you have any convictions, but this leaves you with an unexplained gap in your work history.

The employer can take live, unspent convictions into account when they are considering you for a job. Either way, you need to be ready to tackle this at the interview before it turns into a problem.  

The employer’s concerns will be whether you can do the job and whether they can trust you. Honesty helps establish that trust. Many employers are willing to give ex-offenders a chance provided they can see that the person regrets their past and has turned their life around.  Some employers even have a policy on their websites on employing ex-offenders as part of their social commitments. More here.

*Spent convictions may have to be taken into account for jobs which would put us in a position of trust such as working with children. The employer should make it clear if ‘spent’ convictions can still count against us.