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Gap in employment history with complex explanation - what to say?

(11 Posts)
Bromeliad Wed 06-Apr-16 08:12:16

This may get a bit long and complicated so I apologise in advance. I live outside the UK in another EU country (country A). I was employed here on a three year contract and whilst here met my DP, who is also on a short term contract ending soon. He comes from EU country B.

My contract finished in November and as I was making a career change, don't have dependants and had a bit of a financial cushion I decided to take a couple of months to explore the job market properly and do some retraining. I would then try and find a temporary role here in country A until my DP finished and we would move to the UK together. So I was planning on starting job applications in earnest in January.

A few days into January one of my DP's parents died very suddenly, completely out of the blue. My DP had to sort everything so we spent most of the rest of the month in country B. A few days after the funeral my grandad also unexpectedly died. I flew out to the UK for his funeral. By this point it was the middle of February. I didn't know what we were going to do long term, move to country B, back to the UK etc. I started looking at remote jobs that I could take with me and at getting a qualification in the language of country B which would allow me to work there.

Things have now calmed down a bit. We've decided to go with our original plan and move to the UK, this will definitely happen by the end of the year. I've now started applying for jobs in the UK and getting interviews. My plan was to just say that I wanted to take a break to make a decision on my career, time off to retrain and so on to explain this gap. But in I've been questioned on my dedication to my new role given the length of the break, I've then ended up having to explain everything that's happened which has been awkward and clearly made the interviewer feel bad for pushing me on it.

Should I just be honest from the start? I don't want to sound like we'll be rushing off to country B at a moments notice, these really were exeptional circumstances and to be honest I was glad I wasn't working so that I could be there for my DP. But clearly people think I've just been lazing around for the last five months so I need to say something! Phew, if you've got to this point any and all advice would be very welcome.

CMOTDibbler Wed 06-Apr-16 08:18:39

My contract ended, and I decided to take a sabbatical to support my family due to a series of bereavements.

Keep it simple - they don't need to know the ins and outs, just that you found yourself without a job and didn't apply for new ones due to the circumstances at the time

Bromeliad Wed 06-Apr-16 08:25:27

Thank you, that's really helpful. I've been working on my tendency to waffle so having short sensible answers is brilliant. I've been worrying that if I mention it I end up sounding a bit flakey, when I'm really not. Everything just collided at once and tbh the last thing on my mind at the time was job applications.

contortionist Wed 06-Apr-16 08:29:38

I like CMOT's response. No need to say anything more, and I doubt anyone would push for further info.

Sootica Wed 06-Apr-16 08:31:28

My contract ended and we were moving country and then supporting family in a bereavement.

Summarising is always easier when it's not your own life smile

mouldycheesefan Wed 06-Apr-16 08:46:51

I recruit and I like short explanations rather than convoluted ones.

I would say, my three year contract ended and then I relocated to the uk.

It's very normal for contractors to have gaps especially when moving countries.

I would not even mention the bereavements etc as a recruiter I don't need the family ins and outs.

Good luck with your job search

Bromeliad Wed 06-Apr-16 09:00:50

Thanks mouldy. The problem is that I have specifically been told it looks bad in an interview by a recruiter, so I think I do need to say something.

glintwithpersperation Wed 06-Apr-16 12:14:14

Taking a sabatical is a completely normal thing to do!

Bromeliad Wed 06-Apr-16 15:46:49

I thought so too glint, particularly as I'm making a substantial career change. Apparently not!

TomTomKitten Thu 07-Apr-16 14:40:37

What on earth is wrong with taking time out? You're not a robot!

You took some time out to sort out some personal things/focus on relocation.

I've contracted loads and have many gaps! I like travelling apparently.

LunaLunaLovegood Thu 07-Apr-16 14:45:19

I'm sorry for your losses.

I'd say your contract ended and then unfortunately your move to the UK was delayed by a family bereavement.

I realise this sounds an awful thing to say, but by including the fact it was a bereavement, the interviewer knows it is not an ongoing problem, or some thing that is going to make you unreliable iyswim.

Good luck.

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