Do you lie on your CV?

by Paul Holmes

 In two weeks time I loose my job.  It is no suprise, I took a 3 month contract in May and now the time is up. I was worried, I did think my mood would sink and depression would engulf me with worry about finding something else. However for some reason I have a sort of exciting feeling that a new chapter in my life is going to start.  So I am pleased with that.

 The problem is, I have a 5 year black hole in my CV where I was rehabilitating from illness and lets be honest it doesnt make me the most attractive candidate for any job.  So what do you do?

 Isn't the present more important than the past when applying for jobs? I am fine to work now, but in the past I couldn't. So why do I feel the need to write something in there to cover that huge gap? I am not ashamed, I just know it will not be well received. I know the employers will look at my CV and think "Uh oh, nutter alert." Or will they?

What would, or do you do? Am I wrong? Is there not supposed to be a law for discriminating against mental health sufferers? If you are an employer I would love to know your thoughts.

 The CV is up on the screen ready to be blasted out to the various sites and job adverts. WHAT SHALL I DO???

Comments

Hi Paul I feel deep sympathy for you and I wanted to let you know I was out of paid employment for most of the past 8 years because of mental illness, and have many other gaps on my CV because of ME/CFS in my youth - in between studies etc.

My approach has been to strip all dates and linearity out of my CV and simply present a list of prioristed achievements. In magazine and online journalism an impressive looking CV coupled with a portfolio of past work is essential - I know this is now also your line of work. Please take a look at ianbirch.com/cv.html and see if you can find any tips from this.

This is a secure hidden webpage on my site which isn't listed in Google but which I do share around the industry and am happy to post on here. It's four pages, and that's without giving details of the institutions where I studied - they seem irrelevant as so long ago.

Maybe you could list your main achievements and qualities like I have, then major qualifications, then work experience, but without revealing gaps? When it comes to interview of course you may well get questioned hard, and I had to sue the BBC for disability discrimination after being turned down for 21 consecutive jobs, mainly at interview, because of my disabilities.

So I understand fully that life is tough, and that I am very lucky to be working again after 8 years. Good luck and I hope just one thing I have said here is of some help to you. Do you have a "back to employment service" like NHS Community Restart who are supporting me back into employment who could support you -- it would be well worth investigating. I don't mean JobCentrePlus support - I'm talking independent support?

Take care, Ian

Hi Ian

thanks for your advice. I think your cv looks very professional and expertly done. I shall give this a whirl.  Also great work on your blog, I really appreciate you reading my pieces too.

Paul

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On my CV I have put 'career break' and then in interview I explain I was recovering from illness, and also mention anything relevant I did during that time, such as reading industry journals etc, to suggest you are not 'out of touch'. You can also just say you took a career break to spend time with family, if you don't want to mention illness. Theoretically you cannot be judged for this - for example if you were a woman on maternity leave they couldn't hold that against you. It's just important to show you are up to date with the industry and excited to work. Good luck.

Hi thanks for your reply, also something to consider, its just a shame we have to do this sort of thing. I hope you are well, and hope you message again.

Paul

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