Ask HR: During an interview, how do I explain the seven-year gap in my resume?
What you need to know:
- You have developed leadership and entrepreneurial competencies in managing your business.
- Depending on the nature of business, you might also have acquired digital skills which have become very critical in all organisations.
- As you scout for a job, you must be clear on the lessons that you have picked.
I left work seven years ago to start a business. This was going well until the pandemic hit us. I have tried to revive the business, but it has collapsed and I have decided to look for a job. Where do I start? How do I convince employers that my seven years’ experience in business can be of benefit them?
Most employed people aspire to start businesses, either during their active working life or as a retirement plan. Obviously, some spend less time formally employed, like in your case, while others prefer the comfort of a monthly payslip. For any future moves, ensure you are more financially prepared by having an emergency fund to cater for your basic needs. I have learnt from my friends in business that at the beginning, the return on investment could be frustrating. In the business you juggle multiple roles, including the Chief Executive Officer since you manage the strategic affairs of the business. You are also the sales and marketing person since you promote your brands and also design the route to market. Depending on the size of your business, you might also have a team of employers so you need to be well versed with matters to do with human capital.
You have developed leadership and entrepreneurial competencies in managing your business. Depending on the nature of business, you might also have acquired digital skills which have become very critical in all organisations. As you scout for a job, you must be clear on the lessons that you have picked. How can those lessons positively impact the organisation that will eventually employ you? Are you able to clearly articulate this during the interview? What about pitfalls to avoid? Those too are important especially if you plan to venture into business in future. By packaging the lessons and pitfalls to avoid, you will endear yourself to most employers.
Additionally, it is always important to research on the pain points of the prospective employer so that during the interview process you articulate actionable solutions. Most interviews are increasingly becoming solution based rather than about outlining your experience. Start by activating your networks, especially your former colleagues, and where possible, the HR to signal to them that you are available for suitable opportunities. It would also be beneficial to join your professional forum so that you appraise yourself on any new skills that you might have to acquire. Joining LinkedIn will also be an advantage so that you can have your profile updated for any prospective employer scouting for talent. To cap it all, maintain a positive attitude for your mental wellbeing and consider this an obstacle that will be surmounted.