By Lisa Osiako
“Two years ago, I had to quit my job and move to a different town to take care of my ailing mother. She is now feeling much better. As such, I would like to get back into the job market. However, I have applied for several jobs now without much success. Not even an interview invite has come my way. Could it be because of the employment history gap on my CV? Do I stand a chance at getting a job as compared to those who have been in the job market most recently? Also, is it possible for me to cover the gap on my resume and at the end of the day make it look appealing to a potential employer?”
Your CV is usually the tool that makes you stand out to a potential employer. It is either the first or last impression you get to make to an employer. You may have left work for various reasons, you could have been fired, you could have decided to travel, or even to take care of your child.
Whatever your reason may be, your CV needs to give you confidence when you are ready to get back to the job market.
Here are a few tips you could use:
1. Be Honest
Whatever your reason for leaving work may be, honesty is the best road to take. You do not have to talk about each and every detail that led to the employment gap. Whatever you decide to say, ensure it is the truth as a lie will only make the gaps stand out further.
As tempting as it may be, do not extend your period of employment in a previous position. Your potential employer might just call your previous employer to verify your time there.
Being honest about your situation gives the employer a sense of your integrity and confidence—two characteristics every employer is looking for.
2. Include experience gained during the gap
In the Kenyan job market, jobs are hard to come by. Rather than blame your employment history as a hindrance to you finding your desired job, be proactive.
You can use this time to take a course, seek professional mentoring, or volunteer. Ultimately, this will set your CV apart as it will demonstrate to a potential employer that you are utilizing your time effectively.
These experiences count as work and can be included in your CV.
List them as you would list your other jobs – with job title, company name, job description, and dates of employment. If you took a class, you could list that in the education section of your CV.
Don’t just sit by the phone, waiting for it to ring. Make the most of your time out.
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3. Omit the month and indicate the year instead
When stating the dates of your employment on your CV, you can omit the month and only show the year. This is a perfectly acceptable format that will also help keep the gaps to a minimum.
Also, your cover letter can be used to elaborate on the gap, and to suggest why you think you are a perfect fit for the job title.
However, during a job interview you may be asked to elaborate on the dates, so ensure that you are prepared.
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It is not unheard of to have a gap in your employment history. It will only stand out if you do not explain it. All employers want to see is your enthusiasm for the job title, and your readiness to get back into the job market. Be confident and honest and you will have nothing to worry about.
All the best!