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Read or listen to articles published in this section and via BartonRock’s Digital Careers podcast series – also featuring interviews with high profile business leaders internationally.

How Do You Manage a Career Gap or ‘Blip’ on your CV?

More than ever I’m meeting very capable senior executives with a gap or ‘squiggle’ on their resume…..

Firstly, it’s important this isn’t perceived as a negative that dents your confidence. In many cases, it’s even becoming more desirable for employers who seek entrepreneurialism.

Whilst I still meet many successful executives with linear career paths lasting 10 or more years, at the senior executive level my clients increasingly look for exposure from several companies. If you have spent the majority of your career with one organisation then evidence of working in different operating companies, functions and countries becomes all the more important to demonstrate adaptability to new environments.

Job tenures are shorter amongst younger generations today with purpose and culture as equally motivating as compensation for changing job. But at the senior executive level, it’s also becoming far more common to see CVs with more fluidity or gaps due to a whole range of factors – some of your own making but many of which out of your control.

With the right explanation, this shouldn’t hamper your future career prospects – and remember the CV is simply a vehicle to getting you in front of a search consultant or future employer. Face to face is your opportunity to make the greatest impact.

Even if you think your CV is looking a little less linear than is desirable, there are 5 areas you can highlight to demonstrate your strengths on paper:

1: Agility and adaptability

These are highly desirable leadership traits today. Highlight how different routes in your career have helped solidify these characteristics, gaining new skills, experiences and outlooks that weren’t previously within your remit.

2: Ability to learn quickly

Changing companies and jobs, embracing new technology in fast-evolving business environments shows the capability to absorb and rapidly apply new information

3: Productivity

As a result of working more flexibly and gaining exposure from different operating models, highlight your increased effectiveness in both leadership and operational execution

4: Confidence and willingness to take risks

Taking measured risks is critical to success in today’s business world. Being brave enough to take a sideways role or to leave a well-paid job where there is a toxic culture demonstrates resilience and confidence – both highly desirable leadership characteristics.

5: Growth Mindset

Emphasise that your openness to career changes translates to you thriving on a challenge and being willing to look beyond the tried and tested, safe options. Some level of failure acts as a springboard for growth and developing your abilities.

Documenting these points will also help you articulate those qualities so investing the time should have a direct correlation to your performance in interview. Remember though, experienced interviewers are looking for evidence to back up these qualities so ensure you have clear and relatively succinct examples to cite and bring everything to life.

Guy Day specialises in executive search for digitally transforming companies in consumer and retail.

For more help and advice contact me directly

About BartonRock: We are the executive search partner for companies where data-driven digital leadership is intrinsic to growth.

We manage the careers of leaders whose know-how and commercial acumen within digital steers the strategic direction and future survival of companies.

Our assignments search for executives who understand how to implement and lead data-centric digital agendas.

For more information visit: or contact or call +44 (0) 20 8092 6048.

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