Contractors' Questions: How to put a long holiday on my CV?

Contractor's Question: I've just returned from a holiday which lasted a full month and I'm now back on the contract hunt. The holiday wasn't a relaxing sun and sand holiday, it was more about travelling and exploration. Should I put this kind of trip, or mini sabbatical, on my CV? If I don't, I worry that the unexplained gap in my contract dates might indicate that I've been unplaceable for a whole month.

Expert's Answer: The issue here is two-fold and can appear conflicting. Firstly:

1) You must never lie on your CV

It's too expected in the current climate, where competition for roles is fierce, and it's simply too dangerous. The NHS, for example, has successfully prosecuted several people in the Criminal Courts and have even had custodial sentences awarded. Examples of this occurred as recently as January and March of this year.

And secondly:

2) You must show yourself at your best on your CV

While we all want to appear as appealing as possible to agents or clients, intrinsic to doing this is on the CV is to demonstrate our truthfulness, so the best advice is to be honest.

If you have taken a period out of the market to pursue an interest then say so. But make it clear. For example if you are a keen sailor and someone has offered you a trip to the Med or an opportunity to deliver a luxury yacht to the US, give your CV reader a sentence or two that teases them to ask more.

What you mustn't do is leave the hiring manager or agent in doubt, about your availability, contract history or your background. You might be daring enough to convince the reader/interviewer to the contrary, but taking a month off to sunbathe in Majorca does not project a positive image of a professional contractor capable of delivering work accurately and in a timely or specified period. So carefully position your CV's statements – after all you may have been studying the Prince 2 syllabus on the beach! But if you did, you must say so – the key is to remove any doubt from the mind of your CV reader/hiring manager or agent.

ContractorUK has partnered with the UK's leading authority on contractor CVs to provide a FREE review of your CV and LinkedIn profile. Contact The CV & Interview Advisors and one of their team will get back to you to discuss if your CV and LinkedIn profile matches up with industry best practice.

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