How to navigate the ‘blip’ on your CV
Most people have a ‘blip’ on their CV, a role that was taken with great expectations, but for a range of reasons, did not work out. Sometimes this can cause distress and a loss of confidence when interviewing with future employers. And, if handled badly, it can cause problems from securing the ideal role moving forward. So here are some suggestions as to how best to manage ‘the blip’:
Firstly, don’t panic, it happens. Unfortunately even after a thorough interview process, the role that you interviewed for can turn out to be quite different in practice. So long as it doesn’t become a habit, it is often best to leave and move on.
A simple explanation with a future employer will suffice and it is acceptable to say that the role wasn’t as advertised, or that expectations were radically different, or that the corporate culture fit/personalities were not the right fit. Most importantly prepare your answer and be succinct – no-one wants to hear a monologue of complaints and negativity. Also, and under no circumstances, be overtly critical of your last, or current employer. A future line manager may interpret your candidness for disloyalty and also worry that you might say something similar about them in the future.
Turn a negative into a positive:
Career blips are a learning curve. It wasn’t right and you are disappointed but now you know that a particular set-up, location, remit, reporting line is not for you. Sometimes it’s the things that go wrong that prove to be the most useful in figuring out what’s right for you, and this can save a whole lot of time and effort in your search for the right role. Articulating this with confidence will also impress as it shows a future employer judgement, acceptance, how you handle disappointments and your ability to bounce back – all very useful attributes in the world of communications.
Don’t over edit:
Sometimes blips in CV’s lead to career gaps while you’re re-grouping and figuring out your next step. This might include travel or a mini sabbatical break - all of which are fine so long as you account for this time with an indication of month / year. We see many CV’s that just show years in relation to roles and this is less acceptable as employers have no idea whether you were employed from January or December of that year. Unaccountable gaps lead to questions.
As a communicator you should be able to articulate your own career trajectory. And always keep this in mind when writing, tweaking or re-aligning your CV. Employers want to see and understand why you made the decisions you did and so long as you can explain these, the chances are any blip is easily accommodated.
By Joanne Watkins, Managing Consultant.