career gap

The is the most common thought job seekers come across, “I have a break in my career, should I disclose it on the CV or hide it ”

Last week while hiring for one of our clients, two candidates made it to the final round of interviews. One with a consistent experience and others on a career break due to valid reasons. They made an offer to the candidate who was currently on a career break. Thus, hiding a break on the CV is a short term fix, but it can cost you dearly in the long term. Today we will look at some common career breaks in India and what can be done about it.

1) Maternity Break/Break after Marriage: Most women employees are required to take this break at some stage of their career. Reason can be geographical move due to marriage or maternity break.

2) Layoffs/ Made redundant: Layoffs due to change in external or internal changes in the business environment. This is a common reason for a forced career break.

3) Further Education: Employees take a break and pursue higher education mostly a Master’s Degree or some specialization in the current domain/acquire a new skill.

4) Family Reasons: Sometimes employees are required to take a break to nurse a sick family member/ spend some time with family / improve or mend a broken relationship.

5) To recover from illness: Taken a break to recover from illness and improve health.

6) To pursue a hobby: Taken a break to pursue a hobby, to come back rejuvenated, and better than before.

The biggest apprehension of the interviewer while hiring someone who is currently on a career break is that whether the candidate is not updated with the skill/technology. Will the candidate be able to contribute as productively as before? In the following ways, we can help them overcome this barrier in decision making.

1) Be Genuine and Honest: Be as genuine and honest as possible. Explain the reason for taking the break in brief, in CV as well as during the in-person interview. Presenting supporting documents in some cases wherever applicable.

2) Duration of Break: Just make sure the duration of the break is optimum, not very long, of course, based on the reason for taking the break.

3) Acquire New Skills & Stay updated: Stay updated with the skills and technologies during the break, by working on consulting projects, freelancing, attending industry events, or reading industry magazines.

4) Network: Keep in touch and network with your old colleagues and people who can help you make a comeback.

There is no need to hide the career break or feel uncomfortable talking about it during the interview. Answer honestly & confidently with concrete examples of how you proactively made most of the time outside the office, by acquiring new skills/contributing to the community. Most important why you are excited about the position you are applying for and what value you can offer.

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