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How honest/detailed to be when explaining Break in Employment on application form

(11 Posts)
squishysquirmy Sat 15-Jul-17 11:17:51

Bit of background:
I was made redundant over 2 years ago, and have spent that time mainly looking after dd, who is still pre-school aged. I have been looking for a job, but the industry I was in has been going through a bit of a downturn, do not that many jobs coming up and a lot of competition for them. If I'm honest with myself, I would have been more pro-active and aggressive in applying (and had more time to devote to it) had I not had dd to look after.

Finally, a job has come up that I feel pretty good about; It's a slight shift in career, but still related to my experience, I love the description of the job and most importantly I think I meet the requirements.

There is a section on the application for recent career breaks.
How honest and detailed to be? I know that in theory organisations don't discriminate, but in practice will anyone think less of me for explaining that I spent 2 years looking after a child? Should I say:
I became unemployed after the company I worked for was closed down. I spent this time caring for a family member. Which is pretty vague, or should I make reference to looking after a family member whilst "reviewing my career options" or similar waffle? Or should I be specific and say child? I don't want them to think that I was at home for two years twiddling my thumbs - because I wasn't, but I don't want them to think I spent 2 years unsuccessfully job hunting, in case that counts against me.
I used to be good at this stuff, but I'm tying myself up in knots over nothing!
Thanks for any advice.

OP’s posts: |
MrsOverTheRoad Sat 15-Jul-17 11:55:48

If you hadn't been made redundant, you'd have carried on working so don't mention your child. It's nothing to do with them.

MrsOverTheRoad Sat 15-Jul-17 11:56:33

Say you went travelling.

(On the road to Motherhood grin )

squishysquirmy Sat 15-Jul-17 12:06:45

I just worry that being unemployed for two years might also look bad?
If I was unemployed without a child, I would at least have spent some of my free time training/volunteering, iyswim.

OP’s posts: |
MrsExpo Sat 15-Jul-17 12:16:21

Does this depend also on the employer? Some public sector employers may want a full account of what you were doing, even if you were being a full time mum (which is perfectly valid way to be spending your time): other employers may not be so avid about it. It's nice to be able to say you were doing something "improving" - such as learning new skills, or otherwise useful, such as volunteering as you say, but nothing wrong with saying you were at home caring for your child if you feel that's what you want to say. If you get to interview stage, they will probably ask you, so you don't want to say "nothing to do with you" if asked.

(I speak as someone who went through similar to this when applying for a high level role in the NHS. Not only was I asked what I was doing but I had to provide references to cover the period too ... )

VimFuego101 Sat 15-Jul-17 12:39:26

I would say 'At this point, i decided to take a break from working to care for my child full time and consider my future career plans' - make it sound like a decision you made rather than that you were job hunting for 2 years.

2017RedBlue Sat 15-Jul-17 13:59:52

It's OK to not mention the redundancy. Just remember that if you don't mention it - you will have to explain why you left.

however having a pre-school-aged child that you wanted to look after seems like a very good reason to take time off and I don't see why that should penalise you. A lot of Mums take much longer off and some manage to get back - it's not easy - but it does happen.

And yes as PP said, don't make it sound like you've been job-hunting for 2 years. Say now you're ready to go back and actively looking as your child is older and you're ready to restart your career or something like that and 2 years was all you wanted to spend at home etc.

They'll also probably be slightly worried if you are still of child-bearing age that you might want to have another child in which case they'll have to find maternity cover.

if it's a state run organisation then it will be fine - but in the private sector I have definitely run into problems where the child-bearing age has been a factor in not hiring women in that age range. Sad but true.

2014newme Sat 15-Jul-17 14:01:21

Career break for child care

Is fine

ChrisPrattsFace Sat 15-Jul-17 14:10:33

The company you worked for closed down / you were made redundant from a role, you took it as an opportunity to focus on family and raising your child. Now you have decided it is the right time and job opportunity to return to the role?
Or something to that effect is what I would write!

squishysquirmy Sat 15-Jul-17 16:42:22

Thanks all.
I am probably going to use a mix of the things you've all said. The organisation is a large one and will certainly have a detailed application process and a policy of non-discrimination, so I am less worried than if it was a smaller, private sector company iyswim.
Annoyingly, I think they have a blind selection process until interview, so wouldn't know that I was a woman of child bearing age if it weren't for that section of the form making it fairly obvious - that's why I wasn't sure about it. But if it was going to be an issue (and I would hope it wouldn't) they'd find out at the interview anyway. In a way, if its going to put them off at least this way I will have wasted less time.

OP’s posts: |
ChrisPrattsFace Sat 15-Jul-17 17:26:19

A child baring woman is 16+ so that shouldn't be an issue. They should still not be able to identify your age etc from that.

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