Getting Back To Work After A Gap

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.

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6 Responses to Getting Back To Work After A Gap

  1. vibha says:

    What a wonderful story dear Afsir….. and equally good tips. Thank you so much for sharing. With your permission I am going to share it with my other friends, some of whom have the so called gap.

    I call it the “gap”, “dash”. Yes even in this gap period one can be mindful of the learnings, skills one is picking up. It could looking after an elderly family member or doing voluntary work or simply being at home with children. All such work enhance patience, make you more compassionate and of course give skills for multi tasking. You said it so appropiately, it is about how you yoursefl look at it and present it with honesty.

  2. kiran H says:

    A great post! It’s my first day at work today and I’m sure the advice given will prove valuable in the NEAR future!

  3. S M Baqar says:

    House wives contribution in managing household and raising children never gets its due worldwide. surprisingly on this issue whole world is silent. This is also a huge gender discrimination issue. I belonged to a middle class indian family and if I look back I find my mother, who is a house wife, is very able manager and this must be story of millions of households.

  4. Fatima Ndiaye says:

    Dear all,
    I am the woman Afsar is talking about and I feel very honoured to be in his blog and for the first time of my life! It is indeed a great reward.
    Afsar has been sensitive to my life experience to the point he hired me. It was not so evident and in the same logic I intend to fully take benefit from it. From his part it shows positive attitude towards personal life and how it interacts with work and more than that, a sophisticated thinking being more and more explored by top employers. Thank you again Afsar for that.
    As far as I am concerned, it was a positive experience in many ways. We have to think ahead, in the long run and beyond our person. For example consequences for the children in their school and future life. I must admit I had to pass challenging steps like going back to university to show how willing I was to re-enter the work force but it was worth it. I feel a winner in many ways.
    For those in similar situations, I would advise to push forward despite setbacks. Don’t be discouraged. Complete a training, work seriously on your CV and motivation letters and be positive always. I can discuss more on that with people who are interested.
    See you on Afsar’s blog. Let’s keep hopes high.
    Greetings,
    Fatima

  5. Indrani says:

    This is an eye opener and I am sure its going to inspire many women. I really appreciate the statement ‘every woman is a working woman’. Also very working woman holds the dual responsibility of home and work.

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