All of us at some point of time, come across different crossroad situations in life. When two things are equally significant in our lives, opting for any one is a tough job. No one wants to regret their decision later. Therefore, we take ample time to decide on that one thing we want to retain and thus opt for it.
Lily, a Senior HR with one of the leading corporate houses, was also experiencing a similar situation. It had only been a month, when Lily was back to her work after a long pregnancy leave. She was blessed with a baby boy, who was now finding it difficult to manage in her absence. Although, she had made all the arrangements and appointed a baby sitter, who would take care of him when Lily couldn’t be around; the kid was still having a real hard time.
On the other hand, returning to work after a long leave is not that easy. Lily was finding it difficult to get back to her usual tempo at work. She was fighting hard to achieve an undivided focus on the job front. Lily was finding herself less efficient in that very place where she was once known to be a great performer. Well, when you return to your workplace after a long leave, things remain a little weird for a while. You need to figure it out yourself.
However, for Lily, things were a little different. She couldn’t apply for another long leave now. And even if she did, that would get rejected.
What could be the other alternative?
Unfortunately, Lily had to resign from her job. She decided to opt for her son’s well-being over her career. However, Lily was sure of re-entering the workforce in the future; when her son would be a few years older.
Lily was aware about problems job seekers with a long career gap face. Professionals who resign from their professional life, due to various personal reasons or health issues do face a lot of trouble to get back there. Thus, Lily decided to figure out all strategies that can make her come back less stressful.
Lily is presently working in greater profile, where she has nearly 35 HR professionals reporting to her. Yes, she has made it, and she has made it big time! Her comeback story is something very inspiring and this is what Lily has, that she wants to share with her younger generation – professionals who are in the same shoes as she had once been.
How to explain gaps in employment?
Lily suggests the following strategies to explain gaps in employment. Let’s explore these:
Honesty is still the best policy:
If you do not regret your decision of staying away from work , then you should not have reasons for concealing the fact. Tell your interviewer the reasons behind your unemployment period. And if you don’t your recruiters will definitely reach there.
Lily as a Human Resource professional, shares that employers not only look for skilled professionals. Rather, integrity and truthfulness are of equal importance. Again, employers are looking for responsible professionals who can handle job roles. If you are not being able to take charge of your own personal decisions, you never qualify for handling important job roles. Simply they don’t find you responsible enough, that they can trust you with their business prosperity.
Therefore, never think of preparing a cock and bull story to hide your employment gap. People are trained and are getting paid to drag out such facts from you. And once they find you guilty of providing wrong facts, it becomes damaging for your entire career.
Don’t get idle:
When you are away from work, don’t just get too idle and waste your time. Make use of this time to do things you could not manage on your regular schedules. Lily had a knack of writing as a college grad. However, her day to day activities left fewer scopes for her to pursue hobbies. Therefore, she decided to take up some freelance writing assignments that could keep her busy when her son was fast asleep.
Her aim was not to earn money through these freelance jobs. She wanted herself to be in that “target accomplishment mode.” She would be assigned a list of weekly tasks with stipulated time of completion. In addition, she also viewed this opportunity as a learning experience that could get her opportunities on a different platform.
Well, it is needless to say what happened When Lily shared this with her present employer. It did earn her a rewarding position.
Therefore, Lily says that it is very important that you have something good to present before your interviewer. The love for work should never die even when you are temporarily out of it. Take up some voluntary job or further education to fill your gap period. This will definitely boost your career.
The Ultimate tool – Your Resume:
Your primary aim while writing resume is to highlight skills that can attract employers; so that the gap period does not become the only focus. You can add different job roles that you have handled. Mention designations and skip durations tactfully. Explain different tasks that you have accomplished, that brought profit to your previous organizations.
Lily had presented her writing skills before her employers. Something that she was good at previously. However, some practical exposure helped her to master the art. She mentioned about this in her resume as well as in her interview. The importance of good communication and writing, in her present job profile is well-known to all. Thus, this definitely boosted her selection despite her long gap from a core job role.
Therefore, simply mentioning about the things that kept you occupied during the unemployment period is not sufficient. You need to relate acquired skills to apply for a job role. Only then it can have a significant outcome.
These were some strategies Lily shared with us. As a concluding note, Lily mentions that everyone can have unique strategies of explaining employment gaps to potential recruiters. However, prior planning is important to make the best of available opportunities.