When review a candidate’s CV, it is very common that you will notice a break from employment for a certain period of time that might not be explained in the CV.
So how do you explain an employment gap in your CV at an interview in a manner that it really doesn’t sound like you were just idling somewhere? I wish to speak about this with special emphasis to women, mothers who take time away from active employment in order to take care of their young families and kids. This is actually an area that has not received the credit it deserves and is mostly ignored by employers/recruiters. When you interview a lady and you ask them about where they were between a certain period of time, you notice how shy and embarrassed they become when explaining that they took time to care for their child before resuming work.
In all honesty, taking care of a baby, especially for a young mother, is a job in itself; a full time job for that matter . Just like any office job, this comes with a Job Description, which in most cases changes without notice and you are required to adapt within a very short time. This job is emotionally involving and as such, special attention and skills are required to make it work. The question then is, why do we not take pride in discussing it? The answer is probably because most employers do not look at this as work. It is considered just a normal part of life.
There is nothing to be embarrassed about when explaining that you had a baby and decided to focus your time and attention on that for the meantime. Or that you probably ran through a hard time and started selling second hand clothes in Gikomba, or became a fruit vendor in your estate. Explain that, and add that during that time, you learnt certain skills that were unique to you, for instance, the art of bargaining and negotiation, convincing people to buy your merchandise (which is not an easy job), financial planning skills, how to keep and maintain your books of accounts etc. The whole point here is, whatever you were doing, no matter how small it was, it was building you for something. As a mother, I think one of the important skills you learn is patience, the ability to function without proper sleep and ofcourse how to chew gum while climbing the stairs at the same time (multitasking).
Do not assume that simply because you were not wearing a suit and tie everyone morning and reporting to an office now means that you were not working. The secret is in how you explain this absence in a manner that is clear, honest and easy to understand. Just do not allow yourself to feel less important simply because you were not holding a white collar job at a certain time in your life. If you were in jail during that time, well, say your truth and allow the panel to make a decision.