Greatra Mayana

Career & Employment Opportunities

How to explain Gaps in Employment: A Masterclass


so life isn’t always smooth sailing
stuff happens sometimes good sometimes not so good and that can cause
interruptions in our work history sometimes for a few months maybe even
years our past doesn’t have to jeopardize a future if you are worried
about how your gaps are going to look to prospective employers you are in the
right place worry no more in this video we’re going to look at the
different types of gaps and what are the real reasons why recruiters hesitate and
are wary of candidates with gaps in their history what are some of the
common mistakes I’ve seen candidates making and finally we’re gonna look at
an actionable strategy that I’ve prepared for you that will not only help
you answer questions with honesty and openness but also help you to re-enter
the workforce with confidence coming up hi everyone welcome back to SuperCharge
my name is Sonal your friendly neighborhood HR director and this
channel is all about sharing practical tips related to your career the topic of
gaps in employment is actually really close to my heart not just because I’m
in human resources and I’ve done a lot of recruitment and interviewed with
people who had sometimes gaps several years but also because I’ve been on the
other side I’ve been a candidate more than once after a couple of years of not
working and stay till the end where I will explain how I approached it so all
the tips I’m going to be sharing with you are tried and tested so how do we
define a gap a gap is a period of time during which you are not working and you
are not gainfully employed so if you started a business or if you were
freelancing that is not a gap there’s six type of gap the first one is related
to family which means you know you’ve had children or you were taking care of
a sick relative the second type of gap is when there was a challenge with
health and then a gap related to you know a job
search which has taken a long time after a restructuring and then there could be
a gap related to leave you took to study or do a full-time training program it
could be a gap related to relocation where you have to follow your spouse and
in that period of time you were not able to find work and the last type of gap is
when people take time off to travel sometimes the world and reset and have a
fresh new perspective and these are all good reasons to have a gap in your
career I think it’s understand so their job is to ensure that the hiring manager
is getting a shortlist of water five candidates this is a original position
it’s always urgent and they want to show the the hydrent manager the best people
so if there is someone who’s currently got a gap it’s going to take time for
them to call up the person understand it and so that could be one reason where
they feel if things are moving very quickly let me put this candidate to the
side it’s unfair but it happens the other reason is due to I would what I
call the vicious circle of unemployment the more unemployed you are for a longer
period of time the more unemployable you look you could be hard on your luck but
it’s not a good look for you know future employers who don’t know you and who
don’t understand your context the other thing that is sitting at the back of the
head of the recruiter is this candidate looks a little bit risky
so it’s kind of like thinking you know there is a candidate here who’s got
tattoos all over his body or there’s a candidate here who’s a job
hopper who’s been really switching jobs every six months or so or this candidate
is really overqualified or very under qualified for the position if we hire
these kinds of candidates there’s a risk it may not work out and the same goes
for someone with unemployment cap what if this person decides to take another
cap there is no guarantee that they won’t so it’s what I call the fear of
the unknown the other reason that recruiters can feel a little bit wary of
candidates with gaps on their resume is they can feel maybe this candidate is
out of touch with current events or developments in their particular
industry so maybe their business acumen or skill set has diminished during this
period of time so how can we address this gap and how can we address the
hesitations of you know the interviewer I have an approach for you and the
approach is called pause it pause career pause makes sense right
so the P in pause stands for proactive my suggestion would be proactively get
into your resume look at the period of gap that you have and explain it in one
line why you have this gap and you can be a little bit creative about it I
could do my own exam so when we were living in South America it took me a
couple of months to land a job which was closer to my line of work and that
period I called Latin America immersion and I explained it as a transition
period to look for my next move another example I’ve seen semantics for a gap
related to relocation career pause establishment of a home in several
overseas destinations while maintaining a strong family foundation to raise two
children and another example I can list for a long ish maternity break rot life
into the world single-handedly oversaw into end care
towards the health of a newborn anyone with a child knows how hard those early
and yours are so by proactively going in there and explaining it you’re removing
any risk that may you know be perceived and you also look like you’ve got
nothing to hide so that’s a win-win in my book and one very practical approach
I have in this point is if you have worked in also for two years and then
you have a gap of maybe one year to 18 months
skip the months so you know 2016 to 2018 and then your next job came up in 2019
and then say 2019 to whatever so you don’t have to necessarily you know you
know list down the months I don’t think this is unethical in any way the a is
for attitude mindset and Mel Robin says mindset reset and I can’t tell you how
important this is so there was a study conducted recently which said the words
we speak have a direct impact on how we think and how we feel so a word like gap
has a negative connotation whereas transition has a positive
connotation of evolution change progress I know it doesn’t sound like a lot it
tomato tomahto it’s the gap transition how does it matter it’s the same thing I
say it matters so if you approach it in a positive way with the right attitude
with you know the confidence and the enthusiasm and the energy you’re
basically not giving the interviewer any reason to doubt your ability the you
impose I call upgrade this is the period of time that you have hopefully upgraded
your skills and I don’t just mean technical skills although if you have I
think that’s really good so maybe you’ve done a master’s program or you’ve done a
diploma or an online course if you’ve done that that’s great it could also be
a time that you some networking so you’ve upgraded your
social network it could also be you know during that period of time maybe you
were a stay-at-home parent and you have worked on certain skills that you know
you didn’t have before maybe you’re more organized more patient so the S stands
for steering the conversation so steering it in the direction that you
want I’ve made another video where I talk about being in the driver’s seat
when you are asked a question like tell me about yourself I’ll link it in the
description I think you will derive some value from it so it’s kind of easy to
kind of get lost into the details I’ve seen candidates do that where they go
into details about what happened to their health or you know with their
children or their sick relative it doesn’t matter so much in that detail
talk about it and immediately stare it in the direction why you’re here and why
you want this job basically it’s really simple
you’ve need you need to show them how you can help them to make money save
money or save time usually those are the three reasons why there is a job vacancy
and just any time you feel like you’re going down a rabbit hole with an
explanation and it’s uncomfortable staring back in this direction so the e
in Paul stands for H this is my favorite part
showing the recruiter how you have an edge and even if you have a gap in your
CV it sets you apart from your competition yes it does how can you show
them that I wake up to that right now you know in business it’s very common to
have a SWOT analysis diagram so set strengths weaknesses opportunities
threats obviously you’ve got your strengths just like everyone else
however let’s look at your weakness which is that you have a gap in your CV
can we turn this weakness into a strength into an opportunity and can we
address the threat let’s see how we can do it in your case so your weakness is
that you have a gap obviously now how can we turn this into a strength
you can talk about the fact that you’ve been unemployed for a while after you
got laid off maybe and you can see how you are being selective because you want
to work for the right organization and for the right positions that is you know
right at your level and so you’ve done your research and you think this
particular organization is just perfect because there is a good match it shows
that you’re motivated but you’re not kind of applying all over the place
you’re really focused and the fact that you focus on this organization is always
a good thing another way you can show the gap as a strength is something I
touched upon before talk about how this period of time has changed you for the
better you know of courses etc we already talked about but talk about some
of the skills the life skills the soft skills that you’ve learnt along the way
maybe you pick up on mature maybe after having kids or you become more patient
you become more organized or if you should give examples of that and those
are you know great examples that you only you can give because you’ve been
through a certain set of experiences that others have not so that kind of
makes you unique and strong as a candidate now this weakness of a gap can
be perceived as a threat we talked about the risk and the threat is maybe you’ll
do it again so if you can address that by saying that the reason for the gap is
now in the past and will not be coming up again so if you’ve had you know a
health scare but it’s done and it’s over with
then you know use the right language to convey the message let me give you an
example so I took three years off to take care of my my newborn son who had
certain neonatal issues now he’s well and he’s old enough to attend preschool
and he’s thriving so I’m feel completely ready to re-enter the workforce and not
so good answer to this would be I personal issues so I prefer not to
talk about it it looks like you’re you know really hiding something but the
thing you’ve been through is not that rare
you know life happens like I said so that deals with the threat part now my
favorite part here is how can this weakness look like an opportunity for
the company it can’t because unlike other candidates who are currently
employed and who look really good on you know on paper they need maybe a month
two months three months six months notice period to start working there you
however can start the next day not only are you willing not only are you
competent you are also readily available and that is a very attractive quality in
a candidate now let’s look at some common mistakes at least I think they
are mistakes that candidates make during this process
oh they the first mistake is saying too much or too little and we talked about
that so it’s important to keep that in mind without you know the devil is in
the details but at the same time if you say – let’s say that it looks like
you’re hiding something I’ve seen this advice online where someone said you
know in your most recent position keep the end date open so it you started
working in February 2016 and show that till date so it looks like you’re still
working there that’s misleading you’re trying to show that you’re still
employed but you’re not and that is pretty much for me the equivalent of
lying and that’s the next mistake lying covering up a gap with another sort of
fictitious employment never a good idea to be dishonest there is a suggestion
which I personally don’t like it that’s why I call it a mistake is having a
functional resume so you know you’ve got two types of resumes a chronological
resume with you know the right order of events and then the functional resume
only looks at the skill set that you have at the companies that you worked in
and how those skill sets are applicable to the vacancy in question
so it is not a very popular choice for recruiters most recruiters do not like
it because it sets them off and confuses them because recruiters can’t really
tell where you were working today are you working and it looks like you know
there’s a cover-up job happening there so I’m personally not a fan so if
possible stay away from it the last mistake I’ve seen candidates make is
when they overthink this part yes I’ve had cats more than once in my career
both the tanks they was restructuring and it took me in the first case two and
a half years to you know find another job I also you know had family reasons
in that period of time and then the second time also there was a
restructuring did this prevent me from getting the jobs I wanted it didn’t why
I didn’t let I didn’t think about this at all that when I was in this
transition that it was a bad thing in what happy because I think I was only
focusing on what is the value that I can bring to the company so for those who
are returning parents particularly I know this is true for many returning
moms that I know of there are companies out there in the world that are
supporting you know returning parents who are joining back the workforce after
an extended period of time and check that out in the country in the city you
live there are companies that are you know even its centralized to do so so in
conclusion what I’d like to say is there will be companies out there who reject
you because you have a gap on your resume can I tell you I think they’re
doing your favor and I think you’ve dodged a bullet
why is that that tells you something about the company culture if people are
judging you because you have a cap on you’re less you make you human we’re all
human if they haven’t had a gap in the resume yet they will add some points and
if they don’t have kids they have maybe parents and young parents are getting
older it’s life it happens and that can also tell you two things I
can tell you maybe they have a very stringent and tight you know vacation
policy and also tells you something about the management style of you know
the leaders there that every time somebody calls in sick they are checking
up and questioning you know that employee need to understand what
happened a quick recap the pause method works I am an example of it so if you
are proactive about the gap and you are listing it very honestly injury attitude
is right you’re upgrading your skills in this period of time and you steering the
conversation in the direction you want to and finally showing them how you have
an edge over other candidates in spite of or maybe because of this gap I’m
really sure that at the end of this process you’d be able to you know answer
those questions only with confidence and honesty but also feel good about
yourself and not you know let it you know take you down thank you so much for
watching I hope this was useful and if you you know other friends who are going
through the same share with them give it a thumbs up and I shall see you in the
next video

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