There are many reasons you may have to take a career break. Perhaps you have started a family, suffered a serious illness, taken some time out to study, or had to attend to something in your personal life.
Whatever the reason, when you do come to re-enter the workforce, the experience can be intimidating and challenging. Having a gap on your resume, not to mention a possible deterioration in your skills due to time out from your career can make it more difficult to get your foot in the door at potential new jobs.
Here we cover some top tips for getting hired after a career break.
1. Plan Out Your Career Path
It is important for anyone who is entering the hiring pool to have a good idea of where they want to go in their career. Defining your own career goals and how you plan to get there will help you to know what jobs to apply for and how to approach interviews. Furthermore, it will help you to excel as a candidate to potential employers as you will be able to clearly express why you want to work for them.
If you have taken some time out from the workforce it is common to be a little fuzzy on your career plan. As a first step, take the time to sit down and define career goals: what type of role or aspects of a job are important to you? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? In 10 years? What do you need to do to get you there? Once you have defined this, use this as a guide for all of the decisions you make as you go about looking for your next job.
2. Refresh Your Skills and Qualifications
One of the main issues with returning to the workforce after a career break is that your skills are a bit rusty after time away. Undertaking some kind of training or course will bring your skills up to date and let you feel comfortable slipping back into the workplace again. Additionally, it will show potential employers that you have up to date knowledge, and the qualifications to show for it.
You can find courses in the UK to bring your skills up to date and put something recent on your resume.
3. Embrace Your Career Break
Rather than seeing your career break as something shameful that you need to hide, embrace the break! A break can actually be extremely beneficial in many ways, and you can use this as a selling point to future employers.
Update your CV including your break and adding new skills you have learnt during this time. For example, you may have done volunteer work during your career break which gave you skills in working with diverse groups of people. Talk about this in your cover letter and interviews and explain why these skills would be an asset to your new employer.
4. Expand Your Network
Networking is one of the best ways to find a new job. If you have been out of the workforce for a while, your network may be pretty thin. Take the time to build up your network: you never know where these connections could take you.
Start by reaching out to your previous colleagues and clients. Even if you haven’t been in touch with them for a while, there is no harm in getting in touch and letting them know that you are looking to return to the workforce. Also get in touch with your friends and family – ask them if they know anyone (or anyone who may know anyone) who works in the industry you are looking to break back into.
5. Be Confident
It can be intimidating to start job hunting again after a career break. It is important to maintain your confidence. You need this to be able to put in job applications, go to interviews, and face the possible rejection which goes hand in hand with looking for a new job. In order to be a strong candidate, you need to be able to sell yourself to potential employers, and for that, you need to be confident. After all, no one is going to believe in you if you do not believe in yourself.
6. Prepare Thoroughly For Interviews
Interviews are intimidating for everyone, and especially if you are getting back into the workforce after a break. Your first interview may be the first time you have been in a professional situation for quite some time, and this can take some getting used to. Not to mention the nerves of being interviewed for your ideal role!
It is important that you thoroughly prepare for the interview, including prepping for questions about your career break. Think about the questions they could potentially ask, including any concerns they may have regarding your break, and prepare how you would answer them. It can be helpful to practice with a family member or friend so that you feel natural answering the questions.
7. Hunt For Career Returner Programs
With today’s dynamic and changing workforce, returning to a career after a break is becoming increasingly common. For this reason, many organisations have established career returner programs aimed at supporting new employees who are returning to work after a career break. These programs generally include structured support to help employees through the transition and mentor systems. Some large corporations which have such programs include global finance firms Deloitte and JP Morgan.
Finding a new job after a short or extended career break can be a challenge. However, this certainly doesn’t have to be a make or break situation. There are plenty of ways to get hired after some time out from the workforce. In fact, you may even be able to use your break to your advantage!