Jobseeker webinar – Mind the gap

Join us to hear about tools and techniques to explain gaps in your CV to employers.

Gaps in your CV don’t have to be a problem. With a few tips and techniques, you can learn how to address them positively and make sure potential employers focus on your skills and achievements.

Are you looking for work or starting a new career and worried about what employers will think about gaps in your CV? Our free webinar will help you turn an employment gap into an opportunity to demonstrate key skills, valuable experience and your readiness for the role.

Hosted by the CIPD Trust team and our expert mentors, the 60-minute session will cover:

– Understanding: Common reasons for CV gaps

– Approach: Honesty is the best policy

– Tips: Addressing gaps in your application

– Preparation: Explaining gaps during your interview

The session will equip you with the knowledge and tools to explain CV gaps in a way that demonstrates confidence, positivity and resilience and helps you to achieve success in securing a job.

Mind the Gap: Tools and Techniques for explaining gaps in your CV to employers

Mind the Gap: Tools and Techniques for explaining gaps in your CV to employers


Jemeela Quraishi (JQ): So I’m delighted to welcome you to our CIPD Trust session, Mind the Gap, Tools and Techniques for Explaining CV Gaps to Employers. My name is Jemeela Quraishi and I am Programme and Systems Lead within the CIPD Trust team here at CIPD. So before I do a proper intro, I just want to cover off a bit of housekeeping first. So, just so everybody knows, we will be recording this session. So you’ve probably seen that notification pop up. And so, we will be sharing it with all of you afterwards, as well as everybody who’s registered who hasn’t been able to, who might not be able to make it right now. You’ll notice when you join, you’ll have all got to muted and cameras off. If I can ask that you keep it, keep your cameras and keep, stay on mute. This just means that hopefully there won’t be any kind of background noise and you can sort of focus on listening to the wonderful panellists that you’re going to be hearing more from a bit later. What I’d love to encourage you all to do is to make good use of our chat function on the webinar today. My lovely colleagues, Kelly and Karine are on hand in the background, kind of making sure everything runs smoothly on the tech side, but also Kelly will be monitoring the chats. So, please get involved if you’ve got any kind of comments or thoughts or there’s questions that pop up for you as we’re going through the session today, then please, please do pop those in and we’ll try to get to some of those before we wrap up. The session, as I’ve said, is about an hour. So we will aim to finish just before 1 o’clock. So you’ll be well away for whatever other things that you’ve got on today. So we won’t take up more time, more of your time than that. And I’m really excited about the topic that we’ve got today. And this is something that has been, has come through feedback from some of our mentors and some of the professionals that we connect with as one of the topics to cover as part of these Jobseeker sessions. And also a big thank you to you, our audience who are joining us today, because we’ve had some, lots and lots of good questions come in and the bulk of the session will be focusing on trying to get to as many of those as possible. So, thank you so much for that, because that really helps us in terms of hopefully addressing a lot of the things that is on your mind around this particular topic. So a bit more about the CIPD Trust. So, the CIPD Trust is just over a year old and what we really exist to do is really about leveraging the skills and expertise of our network as a CIPD and people professionals to really look at how we can tackle barriers to work and create the inclusive workplaces of tomorrow. And that’s what we’re all about. That’s what we really want to try and do and really focus on supporting people who face particular barriers to work or where there’s just more barriers in place in terms of them getting in and getting on in work. So, this is what today’s session is about. It’s about supporting people like you to get in and get on in work. And the other things that we do is look at how we can create a stronger and more diverse people profession. So it’s much more representative of the communities that it serves. And also looking at where we think we’ve got real power, bringing people together. So convening and connecting to really bring people together from our network, from the third sector and from people like you who are looking for that support and want to be able to be able to have a better chance in terms of accessing and progressing within work and ultimately challenge perceptions, change perceptions, policy and procedures to in the long term, the utopia, I guess, of creating the inclusive workplaces of tomorrow, where whatever your situation or circumstances, you should be able to access and thrive within work. So, that’s what we’re all about. And this session today is really an example of that in terms of you’re going to hear from some of our brilliant people, professionals who will be, hopefully give you a lot more insight in how you can navigate talking about any gaps in your employment history and when you’re thinking about how you might talk to potential employers or update your CV and that kind of thing. So without further ado, I’m just going to move on to, we’ll move on to the next slide, which introduces the presenters that we have today. So I’m just going to ask all our panellists to switch on their cameras and their mics. And if starting with Hena, if we could go in the order of the slide, if we could ask each of you to very briefly introduce yourselves. So some people engage in continuous professional development during their career gap. Some people do volunteering, even if it’s just volunteering at your kids’ school, it’s volunteering. Some people take up hobbies, or you may not have done any of these because you were unwell or too busy to deal with other aspects of your life. But whatever it is, it gives you an opportunity to reflect. So it might be that you realise what is it you’re not missing about working, or it might be you realise what is it you really enjoyed doing when you were working, etc. So, the gap can be a form of exploration in itself. And if you did put effort into maintaining your skills and keeping up to date with the profession, make sure that you share these with the employer as well. So, if you have needs that need accommodating, the employer is made aware of these needs as well when you talk about the gap. And the reason employers ask about these is not really to catch you and find your weaknesses, or it shouldn’t be that why they ask these questions, but trying to understand the experience you bring and the needs you may have. So be honest, is what we say, but you don’t need to disclose anything you don’t want to, especially if it’s a sensitive one. Sorry, I’ve got my five year old at home today. Use the interviews as an opportunity to assess whether you’d like to work for that interview. So it is a two way process. And the way they ask questions could tell you a lot about whether you want to work for that employer or not, how they approach the gap that you have. Thank you very much. And I think we’re moving on to Konstantinos here. You’re on mute, Konstantinos. KT: Classic, isn’t it? I mean, the virtual work. Thank you. Now, I start saying that regarding the expectations of the preparation, one of the most important advice we can give you is that you come up to the speed with what has changed in the workplace as well as in the recruitment processes. It is only a few years ago when we just applying for new roles, for new opportunities by using emails. While these days, a lot of organizations, I may say that the most of organizations in a corporate environment, they own their recruitment platforms. And all that we have to do is to create a profile, log in the profile, upload our information there and take it from there. So, if you are coming from a gap, if you have a gap in your career and you haven’t applied for a job for a very long time or as long time as you haven’t applied, just once that you start your preparation, think about this and come up to the speed and adapt with all these changes. Another key information that we’d like to share with you today is that when you build your CV, don’t just think about presenting your past experiences in a chronological way. You should also think about your professional skills, your professional behaviours and your professional knowledge. As well, do a little bit of research and try to find out what are the skills your preferred sector is looking for. Reflect those skills to your existing professional skills and then present them in a simple and clear way. In organisational learning, we say that 70 percent of our learning is coming from our everyday interactions. The way that we interact with other people, our day-to-day jobs, this occupies 70 percent of our learning. And the same applies with the interview stages that we go through. So, every single interview is considering as a learning experience, meaning that if you have just completed an interview, we recommend you that you reflect on what went well, what are the things that challenged you and you could improve. If possible, keep a note of the questions that you were asked and practice them again and again up to the point that you feel confident and ready to answer any similar questions in the future. We like also to highlight that social media play a very important role into our life these days and the same applies to the recruitment process. There are a lot of organizations that they post their new job opportunities on those professional social media platforms such as LinkedIn. That means that it’s important that you maintain a profile in LinkedIn, for example, and again here, when you build your profile in LinkedIn, don’t just think about presenting your past working experiences in a chronological way, but also reflect on your professional skills, knowledge, and behaviours and present them in a clear and simple way. Finally, we would like to flag to you that some sectors have some non-compete closes and if this applies to you, be open about it. That’s for me and I’m handing over now to Dee. DM: Thank you, Konstantinos. So, the last slide before we go to our Q&A session, how do you approach the gap? So, it’s really about owning the gap, explaining what you’ve learned from the gap, and looking at the skills you developed during the gap. So, I have a friend who spent 10 years working as a volunteer in the local community doing various community projects and she’s now used that to secure a role working for the local authority, doing very similar roles that she was doing as a volunteer. So, and this is someone that hadn’t worked in full-time employment for over 20 years. So, I think it is about owning it and looking at how you’ve already built connections, etc., particularly with voluntary work. Certainly wouldn’t let it overshadow your interview. It’s about showing what you can offer to a potential employer. I did see in the chat someone said that there was a clause with one employer, potential employer, saying they wouldn’t accept anyone with three months or longer in a gap. I guess you also need to ask yourself, is that somewhere that you would want to work? Because I work in the NHS, that’s not something, we would never turn someone away that had a gap. In fact, there’s many programmes within the health sector that look at bringing people back and upskilling them if they have had a gap. For example, nurses, physios, etc. But if that is the case, you could also ask why and perhaps explain the reasons for the gap and what you’ve done. In terms of your sector, so I’ve just talked about the health sector, some will be more interested than others and also some will probably be more interested in what you’ve been doing in the gap. So, I think if you are working in a sector where they’re a bit more likely to be less cutthroat and more likely to be perhaps compassionate around that because you’ve for example, caring responsibilities, then that’s not going to be an issue. And in fact, it could even be to your advantage because in some ways as a carer, you’ve had to navigate various systems and used other skills. So again, you can emphasise that both on the CV and in the interview. And finally, I would just say, do not talk yourself out of applying because you’re worried about the gap. And as we heard earlier, gaps are more common, more and more people have portfolio careers, and more and more people, we know that the younger people of today are not going to be doing the career that they retire with than the one that they started doing. So, having a linear career is not the way that people are actually working these days. So, and particularly, we will talk later about things like self-employment, the skills that you learn doing that are invaluable and can be, many skills are transferable and it is about applying that. I think we’re handing back to Jemeela now. So, thank you for listening. JQ: Brilliant, thank you. And I think we’ll stop showing the slides now and then we’ll ask all our panellists to switch their cameras on and mics on. And then we’ve got a few, we’ve already got a few questions coming through. Zara, can I just ask you to switch your camera on as well? And then we’ll have everybody. So, yeah, so we’ve had, as I said, we’ve had quite a few questions that we had submitted to us before today, which we’re going to try and get through. And also, we’ve got a couple of questions coming through on the chat. And just because we talked through those slides, I might pick up on a couple of the ones that have come through since we talked through that. So, one of the questions was just somebody, Kamila has commented that it’s really interesting around catching up with industry trends and news following employment gaps. And I don’t know if Konstantinos, you want to take this one first? Like, what would you recommend is the best way to do that? And any thoughts around that? KT: Yeah, very interesting. Good point, actually, Kamila. Thank you. As I said earlier, 70% of our learning comes from our everyday interaction. So, it is a key point that we start thinking about our career plan, and we start doing a little bit of research in the sector that we want to apply for. Then you can use the social media platforms, can be quite informative, start looking for job opportunities, social media platforms, start approaching people that they work already in this industry, or they do the job that you like to find and ask them questions. Those are the main things I can think now. JQ: Brilliant, thank you. Is there anyone else on the panel who would like to add a comment on that as well? Shall we move on? Belgin. BOS: I’ll maybe add there, I mean, Konstantinos has already covered the majority of the ground, but from Konstantinos’ slide as well, the power of LinkedIn, I think, is quite powerful here. So, it allows us to kind of learn from others without actually having to engage personally as well. And you can follow industry trends, and you can follow companies, you can follow professional bodies. So, that’s LinkedIn and other types of social media, I should say. That’s a good source. JQ: Brilliant, thank you. And then another question that’s come through, which is also linked to some of our list of questions, is kind of how can you present positively in an interview or positively in your CV around what you’ll come across as proactive and producing results rather than reactive? And I wonder if I could come to Hena first on that question. HJ: Sure, thanks, Jemeela. I like that this question is very direct, and I will keep my response quite direct as well. To come across as proactive and result-producing, your CV should talk about your achievements first, rather than your job description. It should talk about your job description, but achievements first and foremost. And when you talk about your achievements, it can be work-related, and it can be outside work as well. If you’re volunteering, if you’re at NED, if you’re, you know, part of a trustee board of a charity, talk about all of those achievements, because you’re learning from very many sources. And it demonstrates to the interviewer your flexibility of learning, your adaptability, and all of those good things. So, I think that’s one thing to do. The second thing to do on your CV, if you are able to, is talk about your strengths. A lot of time, interviewers are looking for attitude in addition to experience. And how do you determine your attitude is how closely your attitude is tied to your personal strength. There are, you know, a lot of psychometric tests to talk about your strengths. I like Gartner’s Strengths Finder quite a lot. I think it’s for 20 quid or something online. You can do your analysis, and it’ll throw you top 10 strengths. And you can build those strengths in your response, and also in your CV. So it becomes a very good conversation when somebody says, can you tell me about yourself? And you can say, okay, let’s start with my talent DNA. And then you focus on the strength, and you focus on your achievements. I hope that answers the question. JQ: That’s great. Thank you, Dee. Thank you, Hena. Sorry. And Dee, I was going to come to you as well. Do you have anything to add on that? And I think one of the questions I was also going to add within that is how, you know, how do you come across the proactive? Also, how can you talk about your, you know, if it’s a 12 month gap or longer, how can you talk about that positively? How can you, you know, sort of building on that theme, I guess? HM: Yeah, I think, and I can see in the chat, someone talked about travel. And I think that’s never really sniffed at, because you could build that into a positive experience. You’re still learning skills and picking up different experiences, even if you’re, you know, exploring it for your own benefit. I think if you’ve had a gap, whatever the reason, like Hena said, you can look at your values, how you align with the organisation. Most companies would have that. And also about your attitude, how you, that not everyone wants someone that’s fully, fully up and running to go for a role. They want someone that they can develop. So, it’s about showing your enthusiasm about, you know, I’ve got this out of my system, I travel the world, or for example, and I’m now really ready to settle down and learn some skills in this role. And this is what I think this can offer for me. And therefore, I also think this is what I can offer the organisation. And then again, looking at where the similarities are, because an employment gap is only one thing to address. There may be other things in the person specification, where you don’t meet everything. So you may also need to look at, well, how did I, how do I address that when you’re applying for the role and getting, preparing for the interview? And sometimes it’s, you don’t need to address necessarily everything. Employers will be looking for sort of broader skills and the right fit in terms of approach. JQ: Thanks, Dee. And I think that’s a really important point, isn’t it, is that sometimes these gaps that, you know, obviously things like volunteering are very, very valuable. And there’s a lot of tangible skills you might get from that. But you, but also that reflection time, I think Belgin, you talked about that actually, sometimes when you’ve, for whatever the reasons are, when you’ve had a gap out of paid employment, you, you know, it also can sometimes be to reflect and think about, you know, what you, what you might want to do. What’s what you need for your, you know, in terms of what you’re trying to balance within your, within your own life. I don’t know if you have anything to add on that Belgin. BOS: Yes, potentially. And I could maybe go back to the proactivity question as well, because all of the things my colleagues said, I completely agree. However, not all of us are actually proactive people. Some people, some people are actually more comfortable being reactive. So, if that’s not you, then I wouldn’t necessarily want to present myself as someone that I’m not just because you think that’s what the employer is looking for. Because then that might result in a poor fit with what you’re comfortable with. And you might regret that if you get the job. So, I would encourage all the proactivity through the methods my colleagues have said, if you are proactive and happy to go down that route, but if you’re more comfortable being reactive, then, then that’s, then that’s the way you should probably present your, your work as well. In terms of the time that we’ve taken out, I think, yes, just reflecting back on some of the conversations I’ve been involved in as part of the CIPD Trust mentor, with different mentees. I can, you know, sometimes our career gaps set us back because we think, oh, all I’ve done is just caring for my children or caring for my family. And I haven’t really added anything to my skill set, etc. But potentially going forward, this might then tell you, especially if you know, these caring responsibilities isn’t going to disappear overnight, you know, they will still be there, but you’re still keen on going back to work, you feel you’re ready to take that step, or you’re, you’re pushed to take that step, whatever reason. I think it’s important to know that going into the interviews, rather than trying to convince an employer that, you know, you are dependable, etc. And try and create this picture where you will be there nine to five, because chances are you won’t be because you’re responsibilities don’t disappear. It’s probably better to go into an interview to try to gauge whether you would like to work for that employer or not, whether you think they will be accommodate your needs. So, kind of turning the conversation around and going back to that two way process of interviews. Does that does that help address that question, Jemeela? JQ: Yeah, I think that’s, I think that’s great, because actually, one of the questions that we sort of build on that actually is around that we had submitted previously is also around that, that, you know, if you have taken time out, as well for things like ill health or caring responsibilities, or disability that you may, you know, how do you how do you how might you also address that in terms of with a potential employer, where you might need a bit more of that flexibility, or you might need some adjustments. So thinking of, so I guess it’s that ties into that what you were saying, Belgin, about that kind of two way, you know, thinking about what’s what, what are the, you know, the employees quite open about their, their flexible options, or their evidence of how they how they support their employees in terms of situations like that. Dee, I wondered, especially with the role within the NHS, if there’s, if you’ve got anything to sort of add on that point as well around, around people who might have gaps due to ill health, or caring responsibilities that might continue, might need some continual adjustments, when they when they do find work, and how they might, how they might approach that when talking to potential employers. DM: So, it would certainly wouldn’t be a detriment in in applying for a role, I think you could make it clear during the recruitment process, and then afterwards, if you’ve been offered the role. In the NHS, there’s a great emphasis on flexibility, and you can apply for that from day one. So you could, for example, say, on a Tuesday afternoon, I would need to take my elderly parent to an appointment. So I’d like to request that rotas are around that, for example. This is becoming more and more commonplace. And there’s a massive program of activity to retain staff. So, there is a focus on flexibility, 70% of the workforce in the NHS is female. And we do know that most, most of caring is done, particularly for children, still by females. So, there is a real emphasis on doing that. So it can be something that’s not, it would not be a detriment. And if you have spent a period of time doing caring, and, you know, you’ve got additional caring responsibilities, for example, for a disabled child, you’ve obviously learned a lot about the health sector as well during that. So that, again, can be something that you could turn to your advantage. So at Barts Health, and a lot of NHS organisations, we are developing a carer’s passport. And that means that you’ll be able to agree on appointment, what you would need in terms of perhaps time off, etc. So that you can fulfil your caring responsibilities. And you can take that with you for any subsequent roles that you have within that organisation. Barts Health has 22,000 staff, so there’s a lot of internal promotion. So it’s certainly not a disadvantage at all, it, you could turn it into an advantage. And I think that I imagine a lot of other companies are following suit, like universities or, or local authorities. JQ: Thank you, Dee. Thanks. And Zara, if I could come to you just a bit more, just to delve a bit more into that kind of employer perspective around, around gaps. And obviously, we’ve talked about some of the, a little bit around that in terms of how you might, how you might talk about it and the potential options depending on, depending on the employer, but a lot of experience in terms of interviewing candidates and, and how, what’s, could you tell us a bit more about that kind of employer, employer perspective in terms of what you, what you see and how that’s, you know, you’ve addressed that with, with people that you’ve recruited? ZN: Yeah, sure. So, my role involves a lot of interviewing. So, we have so many candidates who have gaps in their employment. I think, like everyone mentioned, I think the main thing is having, being able to account for those gaps and being able to explain what you did, how you utilised your time. And as Belgin mentioned, it doesn’t have to be, you know, if you’re not proactive, don’t make out you’ve been doing so many things, you know, as if like, it was a self-development, because it’s not always for that reason, like Dee mentioned, it’s for well-being, caring responsibilities. And I found that sometimes employee candidates feel that they may be discriminated against if they mention that they might have had a mental health illness or, you know, a caring responsibility might indicate that they won’t be reliable. But if you’re being transparent, and, you know, letting your employer know, you know, that these things may occur, and if the employer won’t support you, then that’s not the right employer for you. It’s not the right company for you. Because if you get to, if you get offered the role based on, you know, keeping information and maybe not being fully transparent, and once you actually enter the role, you might feel pressure to achieve to a level that you can’t, the standard that you can’t actually achieve to. So I think, what we always say, I think, in terms of interviewing techniques as well, it’s important to be personable, approachable, friendly, and then you create that rapport with the candidate as well, that will initiate them to share further information and open up. But never be fearful to be transparent and actually, you know, share your experiences, because if the company are right, and if the person is, or if the employer is genuine, then they will, they will see potential, and they can empathise as well. So I think that’s really important. And that’s what we pride ourselves on at Interpath Advisory. So, we’re very big on wellbeing, mental health, and just providing that support for potential employees. I hope that answers the question. JQ: That’s great. Thank you, Zara. That’s really helpful. I think that’s really helpful, probably, for a lot of people on the, well, sometimes we don’t necessarily, you know, we’re obviously thinking about our own situation and how we present ourselves and that concern about how we talk about gaps, but it’s useful to have that employer perspective in terms of what are actually employers thinking about this? How do they view gaps? And actually, I think, and certainly from talking to all of you, myself, you know, there really is a, it’s not seen in perhaps the same way it was sort of 10, 20 years ago. I think it’s a bit, it’s a much more of a normal thing that a lots of different reasons. I guess we talked a bit about interviews and obviously part of the challenges is just getting to that stage in the first place. So I just wanted to come to you, Konstantinos, about thinking about gaps within our CV. Now we talked a bit about, I think, Hena, you highlighted things that, you know, talk about your achievements, talk about your, you don’t have to necessarily have to have a chronological CV that just states what the different places you’ve worked. But Konstantinos, could you sort of build on that a bit more in terms of how we, how you might address gaps? And is it right to address them up front within your within your CV? And you know, don’t do covering letters anymore and we’ll only have a CV. So, is it something that people should be dealing with up front at that stage when obviously they’re trying to get through the door to that interview stage? Or should it be something that’s addressed later? KT: Yeah, absolutely. It is something that it can be addressed straight away at the very early stage of an interview. And I think that it is something that it can be addressed with a lot of confidence. Just what is important to my point of view is to shift the focus from the gap to what we have done during this time. What have we learned during this time? How have we tried to develop ourselves? How have we tried to develop our skills, to expand our knowledge, or to practice some professional skills? And then it’s important that as we say earlier, while we are presenting the slides, it’s important that we do a little bit of research to understand what the employers are looking for. And to focus on those specific areas that the employers are looking for and we have these skills on us. So, this is a way to present the gaps in a positive and confident way. As well, I would like to add that, of course, we are humans and we have some needs. And maybe the hiring manager who is doing the interview for you may have similar experiences as well. So, they may be quite familiar and maybe it’s going to be quite easy for them to understand why you have this gap in your CV. So, obviously, gap creates quite a lot of stress to us because we feel initially that it’s a challenge in our CV. So, the best way to kind of shift this feeling is just to focus on how have you managed to develop yourself during this period? And again, as I mentioned earlier, a lot of learning in us is coming from our everyday interactions. So, by just looking after someone, this is just an opportunity for you to develop empathy. This is an opportunity for you to improve your communication skills, most likely. And these are some important professional behaviours that these days a lot of employers are looking for. JQ: Thank you. And that’s really helpful. Thank you. One of the, one of the things that’s been coming through in terms of some of the questions is around, which maybe ties this a bit, but we’ve had a few some questions live in the chat and also questions that we had before today is around probation periods or where people have, so, one example is we have someone who, you know, how do you explain, how would you explain things like a failed probation? And then a bit of a break after that, or somebody who chose to resign within their probation period. And I think one of the questions that came through the chat today is also about somebody who was on a teacher training course and then and then decided it wasn’t for them and quit quite, you know, quit that quite early and is now thinking about the next thing. So I guess the overall thing is how do you, how do you present things like that where, you know, without coming across as whether it’s coming across as flaky or not, you know, that you’re not committed and you’re not going to commit to a role or, you know, if you might have failed a probation. You know, you might be concerned about how you how you talk about that to the to a potential employer. And if I could come to Hena on that one initially. HJ: Thanks, Jemeela. This is an interesting one. The question is how many times has this happened in the career? If it’s happened only once, I think the way I would present myself, it’s like a test drive, right? You test drive many cars and you buy one. And the probation period is meaningful for both parties in the sense both are trying to assess whether this is the right marriage, right? So, it could be a situation that the employer feels you’re not the right person, or you may think you’re not, you know, the employer is not the right organization for you. And therefore you’ve decided to, you know, to quit and then use that time to understand what were the things that actually pushed your buttons to quit and ensure that is not what happens in the future. So, probably you’re using that time to learn from what happened. And then apply yourself judiciously to the roles that you’re interested in. Right? I mean, that’s how I would position it. But if this has happened many times, then I would really sit back and start to think why has it happened in every situation? Is there a common thread? And how can I avoid that common thread? Right? That’s the way I would reflect on this question and present it. JQ: Brilliant. Thank you. Is there anyone else on the panel who would like to add to any of that? Or move on to the… ZN: Yeah, maybe just then, just to touch on what Hena said, I think, if you can explain what you learned from your experience whilst at the company, and what your takeaway, takeaway notes were, then I think that that can help you in your next role. Because sometimes I think it’s good if you can identify when a role isn’t right for you. It might, it might not be anything to do with your ability, the way you perform and the potential you have, it can just be that that’s not the right role for you. And that it’s very difficult to perform to your full potential in something that you don’t enjoy, something you’re not interested in. So I think, yeah, like Hena mentioned, I think just the takeaways from not completing your probation is, I think, quite key. And just transparency as well. Obviously, you do get nervous in giving that information and expressing that you, you know, you didn’t pass your probation, but we do request references and information can always be provided. Although, so it’s always good to be transparent rather than coming out later on. So it’s just good to be upfront. But yeah, that’s all. JQ: Konstantinos, did you have, and Belgin, did you, were you going to add to that as well? BOS: I can come in after Konstantinos, thank you. JQ: Okay, great, thank you. experiences. When I make my decision to start working in HR, KT: Okay, thank you. Just a small comment on this, that for someone to fail a probation, that, that sounds a very big hit in someone’s confidence. No one likes to fail a probation. However, what I want to flag is that the way that I think about probation is like, it’s like a tango. It’s like a dance for two. It’s for the employers to evaluate your, our performance, whether we are the best fit for this position. It’s also for us to understand whether we fit in this organisational culture, whether we like, we really like this specific task, these specific jobs. And actually, the reason I say this is because I just reflect on my past experiences. When I make my decision to start working in HR, certainly, I had absolutely zero working experience in HR. And when I found my first job, which was to be a recruitment consultant, it was completely not what I had in my mind. It was certainly not how I had imagined that a recruiter consultant will work. And not even a month after in this position, I just went to my landlord and say, you know what? I feel depressed. I feel depressed because HR is not what I was thinking that it is. And bless him, I did have the support from him that he had the experience and he was able to direct me and be like, okay, maybe not recruitment. Maybe you would like to try learning and development. And that kind of saved my career because that was a moment for me to realize that actually, yes, I wasn’t fitting for the recruitment, but definitely I can see myself in L&D. So, failing a probation, it creates certainly a negative feeling to us. But let’s take a step back and let’s consider what did we take out of all this? And is it the sector? Is it the industry? Is it the culture of the organisation? JQ: Thank you. Belgin. BOS: I was going to say, I mean, a lot of the things that have been said actually covers what I have to say, but it really is the power of self-awareness, I think we’re talking about. And I’m conscious from the start of this session, we are reflecting to, we’re referring to this break, this career break as giving you an opportunity to develop yourself. And we’re always referring to what you’ve learned. And here, I don’t think all of us and all the time necessarily are referring to things that, with the courses we’ve taken or the new skills we’ve developed. The development or learning that we’re referring to, especially in the last bits of the conversation is really about self-awareness. So, taking things like what you might call failure, because you didn’t pass a probation, as Konstantinos was saying, why did you not pass that probation? Why did you not put in that effort or what got in the way of you performing might not be just effort, it’s often times willingness as well. And what does that say about yourself? So understanding ourselves is as important as understanding what the industries and what the occupations are, or what the jobs are like as well. And another thing I want to pick up on what Konstantinos said was, Konstantinos you said you spoke to someone, and I think that is very, very important. Often, especially going back to work after a period of time out, maybe it’s the first job you’re going into after a period of time away from labour market, from education, and it does feel like it’s only you, and this is something you need to sort out. But job search, careers, it doesn’t happen in a vacuum. We don’t just go and get goals and find jobs. We often talk to people, people who know us. They might not know about the opportunities, but they might tell us, hey, you might be better at learning and development because you’re doing x and y really good. Or they might just tell you you’re doing x and y really good, and then you think, oh, maybe that’s learning and development. So we learn a lot from other people’s advice, but also learn a lot from observing other people as well. So, one of the things I suppose is really important is seeking opportunities for mentoring. This could be, you know, people you know, perhaps from your previous work experiences, people you meet through the CIPD opportunities, or just observing people online, you know, like the LinkedIn opportunities that we talked about, but just making sure it’s not just you lost in the sea of job applications, etc. JQ: Thank you. I think that’s a really good point, and one thing I should say is that as the CIPD Trust, we do offer, you know, if you feel that we do offer mentoring as well, so if you can, we’ll send the details afterwards, but you can register interest for a mentor, and we’re reopening that in the new year. So yes, that’s something that we’ll share afterwards. There’s a couple more questions that I really want to get to. We’re getting loads of questions through, and I’m really aware of time, but I just want to make sure that there’s a couple that we cover, and particularly, so we’ve had someone who has a gap for caring for young children or health, and saying that the reality may be that they might not have had a chance to develop themselves, but actually, and I think this is something that often gaps can create for people as individuals, is that actually you lose a lot of confidence in terms of trying to do that return to work. So, you know, so how do we, how can people kind of almost overcome that a little bit in terms of thinking about new roles, and perhaps Dee, if I can come to you about that first, and I think the point was as well that they may be looking for a job that doesn’t require that they have developed, so to speak. So is it still the approach that honesty is the best approach in those situations as well? Because I know Zara, you talked a lot about that as well. Dee. DM: Yes, I think from our perspective, it is. We have had experiences where people haven’t been honest, and usually quite detrimental outcomes. So the best you could do is to, as we’ve said earlier, and of course, a lot of our roles are advertised on NHS jobs, so there’s a format in which you apply. So people, and I see a lot of applications where people do address these gaps in their, in the actual form, because there’s always a supporting statement that’s required. So, you’ve got the sort of the application form, and then the supporting statement, which is almost like a covering letter. So, the supporting statement is probably where you can really own the situation. You’ve got a limited number of words, like say a thousand, and while you need to address the criteria, that is going to be the main focus rather than gaps. So, as long as the criteria is met, and if you have a disability in the NHS, it’s only the essential criteria that needs to be addressed, and then you’re guaranteed an interview. It’s called the two ticks symbol, and I’m sure a lot of other organisations have the same thing. So I think it’s about you, you know, putting down the experience you have, and then addressing it in the supporting statement, and a lot of attention will be focused on how that matches the role. So, I don’t think, I mean, it’s disappointing to see in the chat, I see some people mention their stigmas. It’s not been, as I said, my experience in the NHS. I suspect public sector generally isn’t like that. So I think that might be, maybe an area to look into. If you’re not clinical, there are a lot of other non-clinical roles that, and also the other thing to do that you could consider is if you wanted to upskill, once you got into a role, then obviously there are opportunities through the apprenticeship levy scheme, etc. But I think in terms of getting a foot in the door, it is about using the supporting statement to your best advantage, and getting someone else to check it, because you can always be a bit blind to your own, to what you’ve, how you present it. And as we’ve all said, it’s not just necessarily about developmental things that you’ve done in the gap, but other observations and experiences you’ve had. JQ: Yeah, I think that’s really, and I think that point’s coming through quite a lot in a lot of the answers to, I think, Belgin, you’ve talked about it as well. And I think everyone on the panel actually at some point in terms of actually, I thought there was a very valuable point around actually talking to people you know, and talking, it doesn’t, it’s not necessarily everybody who’s in your, you know, who’s an employee, you know, it might, you know, you can learn a lot about your strengths and what you can offer through your own sort of network in terms of friends and family. You know, it’s not to be kind of dismissed as well in terms of recognising what you can potentially bring, and often it’s harder for us as individuals to talk about, you know, to sort of big ourselves up and emphasise those things. But actually, sometimes those things could be really valuable. And it’s easy to underestimate, but there’s things that you can offer to a potential employer. Hena, I know you want to kind of come in on that as well. So, and I guess the other point is just, I know a few people have mentioned in the chat, and it came up in questions, I’m very aware of time, so I want to try and get through as much as I can. But Hena, it’d be good if you could talk about the employer perspective a bit more, because I think some people have sort of said that, that feeling of being discriminated against, because of gaps and worrying about, because you’ve got a gap in your employment history that, you know, that you’re being filtered out of application processes and things like that. So, Hena, can I come to you? HJ: Coming back to your original question, Jemeela, about honesty, is it still the best policy? I think when you’re starting a relationship with an organisation, with another person or anything, I think honesty is the best policy, because you’re thinking of the long term, right? So, even if it feels uncomfortable, I think you need to be able to say what the gap is and how that gap came about, right? Whether you developed yourself in that, good, if you did not, why not, right? I think it’s important to talk about it. The second thing is that we don’t talk about gaps, is that it also demonstrates your resilience, right? You’ve been out of the business for one year, two years, whatever period of time, but you’re coming back, that’s a resilient personality. I would always have a resilient person in my team. I mean, any day, the kind of ambiguity, the kind of uncertainty that we have, you want people who are resilient to, you know, sustain these ambiguity. So, that’s another point I wanted to bring. And, you know, society is evolving, and so are the employers. So, what I mean by that is that there may be stigma attached to aspects in the past, it may not be true now. So, let’s not use, you know, sometimes I want people to understand experience can also be a baggage. It’s not always good. So, things are evolving, people are evolving. If the society evolves, the people who are interviewing you are also evolving. There may have been a stigma in the past. Today, maybe that stigma has moved out. So, explore it and see it and be curious, be curious and demonstrate to the employer that you’re curious and you’re exploring and you see, you know, value in the organisation and you coming in and helping with those values and those strengths. I think it’s important to talk about those things. If we don’t evolve, if the society does not evolve, we’ll continue on the same old path and we’ll not progress as civilisation. JQ: Thank you, Hena. And I think hopefully, I know some people talked about employers where they felt that, you know, maybe they’re being discriminated against through their gaps. So, hopefully, if you’re hearing our panel today, that you, you know, was, is that haven’t, as Hena talked about, aren’t necessarily, haven’t necessarily evolved in that way in terms of how they, how they view gaps. Actually, there’s a lot of employers out there who are looking at it very differently. And actually, it’s much more of a normality these days. There’s many, and I think it’s demonstrated from all the questions we’ve had coming through, and I’m sorry that we haven’t been able to get to all of them. I think what we are going to try and do is, if the panel have kindly, we will try and do a bit of an FAQs, so that we can try and sort of address some of those questions that we can then share at a later date. But we will sort of share the recording after this, and I’m going to make sure I finish on time. So, what’s going to be popped in the chat now is we’re going to do a quick, very quick poll, which I think Karine is going to launch for us, who’s in the background, making sure nothing breaks. And so, if you could complete that poll, and then we also have a feedback questionnaire, which is very quick. So, if you, and that’s going to be popped into the chat now as well. So, if you could complete the poll and then complete the feedback survey, we will also send the feedback survey in the follow up email as well. But it would be great to hear your feedback on today’s session, and hopefully a lot of your questions and concerns have been answered. And I just want to say a huge, huge thank you to our panel. You know, the quality of the session wouldn’t be what it is without the panel and the insight that they have from, that you all have from your own experiences, but also from you in terms of your expertise as people, professionals. So, thank you very much. I don’t know, just for the last minute, if each panellist might say one sentence, one top tip that you would give somebody. So, I’m going to start with Belgin, and then we’ll close from there. BOS: Thank you, Jemeela. I really enjoyed the session, and I think one top tip for me is really owning up to your career break, and rather than seeing it as something that’s setting you back, it’s really changing that mindset to see, to let it help you make decisions, basically. I know it’s not always possible because sometimes we just need to take any job, but going forward. JQ: Hena? HJ: I would suggest get a mentor who shows you a reflective, a supportive mirror. I think when you’re going through this phase, it is difficult, and you need somebody who shows you a supportive mirror, but also shows you the real matter. So, get a mentor. JQ: Dee, very quickly. DM: One, something we haven’t mentioned is to speak to the recruiter or the employing manager prior to the interview, and just show who you are, and ask a bit more about the role, and that will help when you actually apply for the role by the due date. JQ: Thank you, and Konstantinos, 30 seconds, and then we’re good. KT: I was going to say something very similar to what Hena said. Try to find a job, especially these days, because you think it’s the reason the external social economy environment can be quite stressful. You are not alone. People like members of this panel are willing to support you, to help you. CIPD Trust has a lot of resources that can support you. So, try to find, try to ask for help, that’s the biggest thing. JQ: And last word from you, Zara. ZN: I’d probably say one of the main things is believe in yourself. Self-belief, I think, is really important as well, because you can have all these opportunities available, but if you believe in your ability, if you believe in yourself, that will come across to the recruiter and the employers. So, that’s what I would say. JQ: What a great note to end on. Thank you very much, everybody. I hope you’ve got a lot out of this session, and we’ll be sending some follow-up as well, but do let us know your feedback too. Thank you.

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