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How To Explain The Gaps In Your Medical CV

Gaps in Medical CV

Most people have a gap in their CV, and as a general rule, having a gap in your work isn’t a huge problem – depending on how you deal with it.

The extent to which a CV gap will influence your career, or the next job application will depend on whether it’s a little gap, or a huge chasm.

Employers are becoming more savvy about looking into the work history of candidates, especially when it comes to medical positions (even for locum jobs). For example, when you’re applying for a job as a doctor, you can now expect that an employer or recruiter will verify each of your stated positions, your educational qualifications, and even your publications. The digitalisation of information has made it even easier to find out about your background.

What is crucially important is to make sure you explain the gap, no matter how small or big. You can imagine what the assumption of potential employers and medical recruiters may be if there is obviously a time period missing from your resume :

  • Were you fired?
  • Did you do some time in prison?
  • Perhaps leading a revolution in a little-known Central American nation?

Whatever the reason, don’t try to hide it. Even if it is something on the above list, you need to provide at least some information on your CV to let employers know what happened.

As a medical recruiter in Australia, the most common gaps I see in CVs are because of:

  • Holidays
  • Short breaks between jobs
  • Time off to do locum work
  • Pregnancy and kids
  • Carer responsibilities (e.g. for an elderly parent)
  • Personal illness or Surgery
  • Another professional interest or career

All of these are quite valid, understandable reasons for having some time off working as a doctor, or other healthcare practitioner. Of course, if you look at from the employer’s perspective, the longer the break, the more questions are going to be asked. It’s best to foresee these questions and answer them in your CV.

For example:

  • Did you do any medical work at all during the break?
  • Did you stay up to date with your medical education and CME requirements?
  • Is your professional registration still valid?
  • Are you going to have to undergo retraining before you start again?

So, from a practical perspective, how do you deal with the gap in your CV?

The most simple approach is to treat the gap as any other position or role in your CV. For example, it might appear as the following:

14th June 2008- 18th April 2009 Maternity Leave

  • Maintained CME
  • Met AHPRA registration requirements

Another approach is to acknowledge the time away from work, but not provide further information on the CV. You might do this when you took time off for a sensitive reason (such as health issues). For example:

8th January 2004-21st September 2004

  • Personal Leave

Naturally, in this case, you will need to be prepared to explain it in more detail to the employer.


Whatever the reason is for your break in work (even if it was leading a Central American revolution), you should approach it proactively, be honest, and whatever you do, don’t ignore it!

To learn more about maximising the power of your CV, download our free eBook below.

To avoid the mistakes that you could already be making on your CV, download our guide ‘7 Obvious Mistakes to Avoid on Your Medical CV’ today. 



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