Coming back to work after a career break – 5 tips for success
Going back to work after a career break – maternity leave, caring for a family member or just following other goals – can be daunting, and at times seem impossible. Your former colleagues have likely moved on with their careers, and new technologies or industry trends mean the business world has changed. The good news is, there are small steps you can take to get back on track and back in the game.
Prepare yourself (and your CV!)
A common mistake made by those going back to work is to dive in head first – cold. your CV is lacking recent experience and full of out-of-date references then it’ll need some attention before you do anything else. Recruitment agencies or even friends working in HR can be of great use in assessing your skills and making sure you’re ready enough to start applying and interviewing for roles.
Dust off your online presence.
Its surprising just how quickly online profiles can fall out of date and look neglected. Just as you freshened up your CV, you need to make sure your online network (including LinkedIn) is up-to-date. This is also a great opportunity to reach out to your old colleagues and contacts to let them know you’re back on the job market – you never know where that dream role will come from!
Explain the gaps
Employers are going to want to know why you’ve been out of the game, and don’t make them wait until the interview stage to find out. Be honest and use your covering letter to explain your absence. Then have a think about how you’ll answer any interview questions on the subject – making sure you’re completely dispelling any doubts your employers would have about your ability to return to work.
Redevelop your skills.
If you’re worried you might have gotten a bit rusty with your technical skills, consider looking for temporary jobs to use as a stepping stone back into the workplace. Alternately, a short course could be a great refresher on what’s slipped your mind or changed since you stopped working.
Use your work break to your advantage
Whatever you’ve done in the time you’ve been away from work, have a think about what skills or experiences you’ve gained, and how they will impress your potential employer. For example, a career break to be a full-time parent might mean you’ve developed your organisational skills, or a break to go travelling might show developed communication skills.
Ready for the next step? Read our blog post on 5 ways to stand out at your interview
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