By Candice Fong
I’m not talking about that gap you get at the back of your jeans when the waist doesn’t fit. Nor I’m referring to that gap in the sidewalk you tripped over. I’m talking about that gap in your work resume.
I have a year-long gap in my resume. I am grateful that during my interview for my current role, I was never asked once to explain the emptiness. It wasn’t that I wasn’t doing things during that time. However, I was doing things completely unrelated to my professional training (that is a story for another day!). But how many people are as fortunate as I am to not have to account for this? Is my experience the exception or the norm?
I did a very unscientific survey consisting of my husband. He confirmed that he had to explain the gaps in his resume in previous interviews. I have heard stories of mothers returning to work after raising their child or children and being asked what they did during that time. Ummm…raise kids? The assumption when that question is asked is that you didn’t build or acquire any transferable skills during that time because you weren’t doing paid labour. Do prospective employers want to hear that I did unpaid labour that involved keeping humans alive and healthy through change management and time management while utilizing my negotiation and leadership skills? Furthermore, I demonstrated a high degree of flexibility to pivot strategies based on feedback. I’m happy to report my children are alive and well. So, I was successful in meeting my goals. I would love to know if someone actually said this during an interview – and if so, can you be my friend?
However, gaps don’t just occur due to having children. It could be a death in the family, wanting to do something different to enrich your life experiences, or healing from mental and physical burnout. We shouldn’t have to explain the gaps but rather address the skills we do have and wish to acquire. And if we choose to explain the gap in order to demonstrate this, then, that is our choice.
A gap is a gap. There is no need to confront the person to explain it. If the person volunteers that information, to me, that’s a bonus and not a requirement. To burn it into your memory, may I present a haiku:
A gap is a gap.
Let us focus on the skills
that get the job done.
Notes Between Us (NBU) is a blog about conversations and topics of interest to the writers. The writers are expressing their personal opinions solely. The essays represent their personal beliefs and not that of their workplaces or any organization they are associated with.