Career breaks are becoming increasingly popular in the UK. Whether it is to start a family, go travelling, do some volunteering work or to take some time out and enjoy a different experience – a career break can come about for all sorts of reasons and is no longer perceived as career suicide. However, returning to work and getting back on the career ladder can prove to be difficult. If you are finding yourself in this situation then read on for some useful tips.
One: Brush up on your skills
If you have been out of work for a number of years, you might feel that your industry has moved on and left you behind. The biggest challenge people face when going back to work after a break is adapting to the changes in technology and processes.
If that is the case, why not freshen up your skills and qualifications by going back to class and getting up-to-date qualifications. This will not only help you feel more equipped to do the job, but will also reassure employers that you still have the necessary knowledge. Alternatively, you could look at doing some work experience, to get an understanding of the current situation and to get back into the rhythm of working life.
Taking an hour or so every day to do research, reading trade magazines or listening to industry-related podcasts, for example, are great ways to keep up-to-date with current market trends and get you ready for interviews.
Two: Stay confident
Applying for jobs again can be a daunting process, made even worse if you have lost some confidence and are left wondering whether or not you are still capable of doing your job. A good tip to build up your confidence is to make a list of all the transferable skills you might have acquired during your break, and think about how these could help you in your new role. Skills might include learning a language, communication skills and adaptability if you have been travelling, or time management, organisation and negotiation skills if you have been raising children.
Three: Reconnect with your network
The first port of call is to update your LinkedIn profile, to let people know you are back in the game. Once this is done, get in touch with former colleagues, friends and any other useful contacts to ask for advice and see if they know of any opportunities. Networking could also help you get some good references, to back up your application.
Four: What to put on your CV?
You won’t be able to hide the fact that you have had some time off, so this will have to be addressed in your CV. Saying that, we would recommend keeping your explanation brief to not let it deter away from your relevant experience.
If you have been doing extracurricular activities related to the job in question during your time off, then this is the place to say it.
A simple sentence will do such as ‘I have been raising my children, while taking evening classes in project management’.
Five: What to say in an interview?
Again, the topic is bound to come up in an interview. Prepare some valid, concise answers, and return the conversation to your past relevant experience when possible.
Be prepared to:
- Give a quick explanation for your break
- Mention any relevant skills, classes or work experience you gained during that time
- Return to discussing your pre-break experience and qualifications
And most importantly, be sure to not apologise or justify, this will only show a lack of confidence.
Taking a career break is becoming increasingly common, and is nothing to feel ashamed about. Some companies are even offering Return to Work programmes, with the aim of supporting people returning to work. If you would like more information or support, don’t hesitate to get in touch with CK Group.