This is a collaborative post by Ellie Jo with job hunting tips after a career break.
There are many reasons why people take a career break. It could be to start a family, travel, a temporary retirement, or for health reasons. You might have wanted to take some time off work in order to reevaluate things and create a better work and life balance. You might have wanted to retrain, go back to school, and so on. In fact, according to a number of people, you aren’t alone in wanting to take a break.
Around 5% of employees have taken a career break of around six months or more. There has been research into it, and that same research has shown that nearly 75% of women have taken a career break for family reasons, where as the statistics show that less than half have taken a break for personal reasons.
No matter what the motives are for taking a break from your career, there might come a time when you do decide to jump back into work and working up the career ladder. Searching for a job is a challenge within itself, but job sites come in hand. Getting a job after being away from it all can feel pretty unnerving. You could feel anxious about the questions that you’d get asked in your interview, feel like you’re being judged, and may feel like your skills are a bit rusty, leaving you lacking in confidence.
If you feel like you’re in a situation like this, then here are some tips to help you to increase your own chances of getting hired after taking some time off for a career break, no matter what the reason.
How to Get a Job After A Career Break
Assess your situation
A lot of people can make the mistakes of jumping straight back into any job or the first job that they get an interview for. It can feel like a compliment to get an interview or a job offer, but if the fit isn’t quite right, then don’t just go for it, if it feels like the only option that you have. First of all, if you’re not sure about a job role, then the person interviewing you may be able to sense that you have some uncertainty with it. So as a result, it can stop you from going any further in the process of being hired.
The second point to note is that if you are able to get a job that is not a good fit for you, then you could even find yourself looking for another job that is a better fit, wasting a lot of time and energy. So it is important to make sure that you take some time to then assess your situation first, and really know what you are looking for. From there you can decide what you want to do. You could explore your options, and think about what was right before you had a career break. What may have fit before, might not fit now, and vice versa.
Update your CV with your career break
It is quite common for someone that has had a career break in their employment to think that it is going to look bad on a resume. They can often think that it can ruin their career. However, it doesn’t have to be a hindrance. You can own it and see it as something that is really positive and that can set you apart from other candidates. If you haven’t been working for a certain period of time, then don’t hide it or mumble what it is about when you’re asked. Having a break in your career can help to provide a lot of benefits that can make you more employable, if you just know how to communicate with them that way.
Think about the skills that you have developed during the career break, or think about the things that you have been able to work on during that time. When you relate them all back to the job that you are applying for, then it can show that even without some formal education or training in something, you can do the job. For example, if you have been off work to raise a family and want to get a new job, then you can relate back to the things you’ve been doing to be more organized, to budget for the household, and so on. Have you been off doing a master’s online to improve your skills? You can learn more about the areas that are specific to the job that you’re applying for, and then you can show them in the interview and how it is important. Traveling the world could have boosted your confidence, or language and communication skills. Your time out of a career doesn’t have to be a negative thing. Share what you have learned and then go from there.
When you are looking for a job after having a break in your career, then don’t forget to use some of the existing connections that you have. Have you got some previous colleagues or bosses that you can call on to ask for advice or about where they are working at the moment? Let them know what you’re wanting to get back into work and wanting to get a new job. They might have something that could work for you. Or, they might have connections for you at other companies. So no matter what, it is going to be a good thing to get in touch with them. Get your name out there and it can make a big difference to your job seeking.
Be prepared for your interview
Before you attend an interview, it is important to make sure that you are prepared and ready for it. There will be answers about your career break and what you have been doing. Be clear and be honest. If you were off work because of a long-term sickness or helping a family member what was sick, then be honest. You wanted to travel, then tell them about your travels. Be positive, and be honest about it all, and it can make such a difference.
Rachel is an Austin blogger, educator, mom, wife, young breast cancer survivor writing about health, saving money, and living a happy life in Austin, Texas.
Rachel has written for HuffPost and Hometalk and has been featured on KXAN, Studio 512, Fox 7 Austin, and CBS Austin.