Advise re CV and return to work pls

Hello all,

Can anyione advise me please?

I had breast cancerr in 2005 and after chemo. op x2, and rads, I took a long time to get better in myself. I had load of probs with my previous employer and many months later eventually I resigned (never being mentally able to return to that company). This left me depressed and very low self esteem.

Now almost 5 years from diagnosis, I am still trying to find a paid job- but how on earth do I explain 5 years away from work? When I go for interviews, the future employers seem very unhappy about not being at work for such a long time.

Can anyone out there advise me what to say on my CV and what to say at interviews regarding the long absence and cancer?

My thoughts are with you all

Be absolutely honest with them, there may be a job opportunity with benefits such as health / life insurance where medical history may be required.
That aside… you beat cancer! You are a determined and motivated woman who has gained invaluable experience during your ‘sabbatical’. Prioritisation and time management are now second nature. You are goal orientated and deliver, you have an ability to look beyond the obvious and recognise root problems and core issues… (see beyond the B*ll Sh**). You have great people skills and excellent communication skills – all of which have been enhanced through your BC treatment… examples of these would be ensuring that all parties involved in your treatment were communicating effectively, you often had to bridge the gap between surgeon and GP where information was lacking, working with a range of medical professionals in ensuring that your treatment plan was optimum… I could go on forever…
I have no idea what kind of job you are looking for, but I am happy to elaborate on the ‘benefits’ of your BC experience if you know what area you are likely to be looking at… please PM me if I can help.

I don’t think you should have to tell them if you are not comfortable with it. You have your own right to privacy. Personally I wouldn’t mention the C word to a new employer as I know they are not supposed to BUT I would be afraid they would look at me and think sick pay. I would just write Career Break next to the dates and embellish your activities before and since to make it relevant to the job you are applying for. If on interview they push it you could either say personal cirmumstances and leave it at that or tell them you moved house and it was a rennovation project which took up all your time. Good Luck xxx

I don’t think I would mention it either. Travelling, caring for a relative, retraining, voluntary work etc all could be used to gill the gap. It may be a good idea to do some voluntary work first so you can refer to that filling your time, have sharpened any skills ghat may have slipped a bit and gives you domethinv to talk about. I think you could well put yourself at a disadvantage if u mention cancer , even tho they shouldn’t make z decision based on it , once they have heard it it may unintentionally colour their opinion. Once u have z job offer then be truthful on any health forms obviously. Another option is to do s course to retrain and put a spin on your cancer dx, ie. It made u totally reassess your life and abilities and Wang to go something worthwhile to help others, or that time is precious and u Want to do something you live etc. Practice your interview with a friend over and over until your enhanced version trips off your Tongue. It’s spinning the facts not fibbing and spin doctors earn lots of cash helping people do it.

Hi, its enough to have cancer, let alone be penalised for the time it takes for recovery. Everyone is different. I would keep looking for jobs , just part time to start with. I think i would be honest and say what has happened, but you are now fit to return to work.Someone must give you a chance…good luck x

Devil’s advocate time!! Employers above a certain size have to have so many disabled employees? So they might actually be glad to have you as a comparitively easy to deal with disabled person.

There is a message on facebook from BCC re a forum about employment issues etc… the link is below!/event.php?eid=144982632193014&ref=mf
It may be useful, although dont know if you are near Doncaster.

Thank you to all of you who responded to my request.

I will certainly take on board some of your messages.
I am so glad that I came onto this website. I should have known that the best people in the know are the ones who have also “been there, done that”

Thank you everyone

Sent you a PM lambkin

Having read some of the previous comments I was surprised to see that so many people advocate lying. I’m with Marguerite when she suggests being completely honest.

As someone who deals with recruitment I would say that while I would never discount a CV because it said someone had suffered from cancer, I would not want to employ someone who had lied and knowingly deceived me on their CV or at interview. If I were then to employ such a person only to discover that they had lied, there would always be difficulty in trusting them.


I moved to Scotland from London 2 years before my diagnosis and had real trouble getting interviews up here as my experience was so diverse. I decided to try for a few jobs a few months after finishing chemo and found that the public sector in particular were falling over themselves to interview me. Most things I applied for I was offered an interview. I found it very coincidental that it tied in with me writing breast cancer on the applications!

Don’t forget, if you’re not totally honest an employer can terminate your employment. Better to be truthful.

Hi there
If it was me, i think i would write down that i have been on a career break, whilst recovering from BC. You are being honest and it is then down to the employer to decide if whether they want to interview you or not.
if it is mentioned at interview, tell them straight, yes you had cancer, yes it has been treated successfully and yes you are fit and well for work now.

Do some voluntary work in the interim perhaps, as an addition to your CV, that way, you can focus on that at interview, rather than the BC.

All the very best.
Nasreen x