Returning to work after a career break can be a daunting experience - wandering into an office full of unfamiliar faces isn’t exactly the most comforting of thoughts. However, it is important to remember that you aren’t the first, and you’re definitely not the last to re-enter the job market after some time away from work. Here are some tips to help you along your way towards landing your dream job and make your transition as smooth as possible.
Ensure Your Skillset is Up-To-Date
Typically, those who are returning to work after a career break undervalues the abilities that they were once so confident in. Don’t be afraid of new technology and systems; your skills aren’t as out of date as you might think.
However, it is also crucial that you take the initiative to become familiar with what is currently trending in the industry that you are planning on entering or re-entering. A great way of establishing what a potential employer is looking for is by exploring job advertisements for roles that you are interested in. A job listing can provide a great insight into the skill set and experience that employers expect to see on an application. Once you’ve narrowed down some common denominators across the scope, you can then work towards moulding your professional toolkit to fit employer expectations, whether it’s looking into furthering your education and comparing courses by top institutions, or simply brushing up your existing knowledge with a bit of research.
Reinvigorate Your Networks
When beginning a job hunt after a career break, you shouldn’t forget to make the most of your existing connections. Put aside some time to touch base with previous clients and colleagues to let them know that you are seeking a new position. They may have the perfect role for you or even suggest some steps to take that could fast-track the journey towards your dream job.
Although you may feel a lack of confidence as a result of your time off, your old work friends will still remember you as someone who was passionate and thrived in their job - don’t be afraid to get in touch and ask them for their insight.
Also, if you haven’t done so already, establish a LinkedIn profile - it is an alternative platform for job hunting, another great way to reconnect with previous work colleagues and even a way for potential employers to find you.
The Dreaded Resume Gap
The best thing to do is acknowledge it. It is understandable that many candidates are afraid that their career gap will ruin their chances at even so much as getting an interview. Despite the stigma that goes along break from work, a break could be a way to set your application apart from the rest. Maintain your integrity and be honest about your break - your interviewer would much rather that than an elaborate excuse that they can see right through.
It is also worth aligning your personal growth and skills that you have developed from your break, with professional skills that are relevant to the position that you are applying for. Many of the skills you have gained during your time away from a career can be transferable; it is merely a matter of really thinking about how. Whether you were raising a family during your time off, travelled the world or simply just needed some time to recharge, you would have picked up some relevant skills in your time away - mould them to fit the role that you are applying for. As an example, if you took time off for travel, perhaps you’ve discovered newfound independence and confidence in yourself. If you were raising a family, skills such as communication and organisation that you acquired during this time could easily be adapted to fit into a workplace environment. Use these to transform your career break into a positive and set yourself apart from other candidates.
Despite the daunting nature of wandering into the unknown, your dream job is closer to you than you think. The important thing to remember is not to give up if things don’t fall into place right away. Everybody has their own timeline - some walk into a career after one interview, while others may take a little longer to find their place. Always ask for feedback where possible, then use this to make changes to improve your strategic approach when on the hunt for your dream job.
So, what are you waiting for?
About the author
To help women find a workplace that will work for them, we prescreen employers on their gender pay gap data, parental leave policies, flexible working, and more. Find your next role on the WORK180 job board.