Getting back to work after a career break is no joke. Whatever the reason maybe - raising a family, travelling, ailment, or any other preferred sabbatical - not many employers are willing to overlook the gap outlined in your resume.
If you too are planning to take the plunge after an interval of many years, here are a few things to keep in mind.
In this blog, we have discussed all the necessary steps required to get a job after a career break.
So, let us begin with these 10 highly effective steps to get a job after a career break:
1. Assess your situation
Before you start applying for jobs, understand exactly where you stand in your career. Think about how the career gap has affected your skills and knowledge. Once you get an idea as to where you are lacking, it becomes easier to jump right into the issue and overcome it.
It might be possible that your interest has changed, and now you wish to get into a different field. Hence, first understand the kind of work you want to do and then arrive at a decision.
There are a few techniques you can use such as SWOT Analysis. It will help you evaluate your strengths and opportunities, and plan your job search accordingly. Apps like Sorted are perfect for those looking for valuable career guidance.
2. Plan for the return
One of the major parts of planning is research. Carefully weigh all your options and the sectors you wish to return to. Especially, update yourself on technology and latest trends happening in that field. You can accumulate a lot of information by making use of the internet and social networking sites.
Follow social media pages of influencial companies in the industry. Also, subscribe to their newsletters and blogs to keep yourself in tune with changes happening in the market. For example, aspirants of marketing and sales can subscribe to HubSpot Blog to learn about the different aspects of marketing and strategy.
3. Hone your skills
Another option would be volunteering or freelancing for varied programs to navigate back into the work environment. There are online websites that specifically cater to freelancers such as Upwork, Freelancer and Toptal. You can also consider applying for internships to get accustomed to the work life.
You can also take up various online courses, both free and paid. These courses are for short durations and can be easily accessed from anywhere across the world. Some of the popular websites for such courses are - Coursera, Udemy and edx.
4. Update CV and cover letter
You can use your career break as a means to stand out to potential employers and impress them. Write about the new skills you have acquired during your break. Back it up with a well-written cover letter. Emphasize your motivation and past success and do not solely focus on the job role. You can also take help of professionals for services related to resume writing.
Related: Career/resume objective samples
Once you decide to restart your career, make sure to reach out to all your contacts including previous colleagues, clients, friends, and family. They might know about an opportunity or be able to guide you in the right direction.
Another active source to connect with the recruiters and get on with the hiring process is social networking. Websites like Meetup can help you build a professional network.
6. Interview preparation
Before going for your first interview, make sure to prepare well for common HR interview questions and answers. You can also find profile wise interview questions related to your field of choice. Furthermore, be prepared to answer questions related to career break.
7. References and certificates
You may not realise it but strong references really do make a difference. A clear letter of recommendation from your ex-bosses or seniors from your previous company will help you establish your credibility in front of the prospective employers.
So, make it a point to acquire Certificates of Appreciation from influential people in your organisation.
8. Search by keyword
Instead of randomly searching jobs on the Internet, find relevant job opportunities by using targeted search on a popular job portal. For example, in this case, you can target the keyword career break to look for relevant jobs.
Furthermore, do read the company reviews before applying to a postion.
9. Be confident
Whether you have taken a break for 6 months or 3 years, the task of restarting your career is going to be both mentally and physically taxing for you. At such a point, it becomes pertinent to have confidence in your capabilities. Attain that by polishing your skills.
Also, don’t shy away from being flexible. Especially, when it comes to salary. Initially, the compensation can be less since you have been stagnant for a while but once you pick up the pace, the pay eventually gets better. Try for smaller or medium firms as they offer more opportunities to grow.
10. Switch profile or be your own boss
Although it makes sense to continue in the field you were working in previously, you can always make a switch from your old job profile to a new field that interests you.
Use this phase to evaluate other positions and opportunities available in the market- running a franchise, starting your own business, or reseller programmes. Since you will have just begun, taking risks will be much easier for you and you can test the waters as much as you can.
Despite losing a few years of your work, you can always come back stronger by using the right resources and adopting the right strategy. Follow the above tips to make your return after your career break a glorious success!