I recently interviewed a woman for a vacancy. As I was reviewing her curriculum vitae (CV), I was impressed with what she had written to describe a period of ten years under the ‘professional experience’ section: “stayed at home as a mother to raise two children: developed multi-tasking, planning, budgeting and negotiation skills.” What others normally see as a “gap” in career was work experience for her. What a positive way to present the learning experiences of motherhood! I recalled a poster I had once seen that stated: “every woman is a working woman.”
When we interviewed her, she explained it very well and said that each step of raising children was a learning experience. She was not nervous about a formal gap in her career. In fact, she had found out a positive way of putting it across in the recruitment process. Many women end up having gaps in their careers when they have young children. Yet, despite the common predicament, they struggle with the issue of what-to-say about this duration when they decide to get back to work. I am sure the example given here would help many.
In fact, how to justify gaps in career is an issue that puzzles people when they write their CV or prepare to face an interview for seeking employment. People may have a break in employment for many reasons. Job losses during the times of economic crises are common. A number of people face this situation in the current crisis and are struggling to get back to work.
I would offer the following tips:
1. Don’t get nervous about the gap. Find an honest and positive way to put it across.
2. Try to learn a new skill or hone your existing skills during the period when you do not have a formal or regular employment.
3. Speak confidently about your learning and experiences of the stay-at-home period.
You should try to convince the employer that you learned something worthwhile during the gap. And, you have the necessary competence and ability to work for them. They will hire you, like we did.
Please revisit my previous post “Self-esteem @ economic recession,” published in July 2009.