Alice Paulsen had to leave her flourishing career as an editor in a publishing house when she had her first child. She wanted to be a hands-on mother, so she went for a career break. Years later, when her child reached pre-teen, she decided to re-enter the professional sphere as a content writer. But, at the back of her mind, there were many apprehensions about this second stint.
This could be the story of anyone who has been contemplating to pursue a career after a long break. Whether it was planned or unplanned, resuming professional responsibilities after being away for an extended period, always seems daunting.
So, before you start second-guessing your decision to get back to work after a hiatus, you need to read this post.
1) Ponder over the situation
Before you consider diving into work all over again, you need to spare a thought about your situation. The prospective employers are going to inquire about your long hiatus from work, and also why you want to come back. So, you should be prepared to answer these questions. Other than that, you should maintain complete honesty while responding.
Another factor to think about is the kind of work you want to do. Don’t just jump into applying for positions. Think about the location, timings, and field of your next employment. Again, if a recruiter doesn’t think you are serious about the application, they will assume you’ll take another break.
2) Give your CV a makeover
If you took a break for a substantial amount of time, it would look odd if you don’t provide details about your sabbatical at all. If you didn’t have a steady employment opportunity, create a ‘relevant experience’ section within the CV, list the activities done by you, describing skills learned along the way.
In this section, you can list out the activities you indulged in while on a break. It can be volunteering, pursuing a hobby, or serving in a philanthropic organization. Focus on your achievements; it doesn’t matter if they took place a few years ago, you still achieved it.
If the gaps in your CV bother you too much, adopt a functional CV format instead. This emphasizes the skills and experience instead of the dates of job titles. Above all, do some research first.
3) Explain the reason behind your career hiatus
You need to address why you took a long break in your cover letter as well as during the interviews. Regardless of your reason for the break, you need to explain them in brief. Even a simple sentence will do. Try, “I had devoted time to take care of an ailing relative,” or “I was completing my higher studies.”
Whatever your reason is for the long gap, try to keep that discussion brief and shift the focus of your conversation to the work you did before you took a break. Your work experience remains relevant, even if some time has passed since you gained that experience.
4) Make optimum use of your networking skills
If you have worked in a particular field in the past, you’re still likely to have a few contacts in that area or beyond. If you plan on getting back to the same field of work, you should reach out to these contacts and build your network again.
Even when you’re aiming for a career shift, don’t give up on your old network. Your previous networks, even when they are from a different field altogether, can sometimes be instrumental in leading you to a better career prospect.
You should perform a little research on the companies and the industry as a whole. You can also find out about the salary range for the job roles that are of interest to you.
For instance, if you want to pursue a career in academic writing and want to join an assignment help providing company. Then you need to gather more information about the organization you’re interested in.
5) Update your skill set
Things are continuously evolving in the job market. This means you’ll have to keep pace with the latest developments. This is all the more critical when you’re getting back to work after a long gap. Sharpen your skills before you send out the resumes or go on interviews. This will help you feel more confident as a candidate.
You can pursue a course available to learn more about the latest developments and technology. This could be a traditional classroom-based course, or it could be an online tutorial. Once you’ve mastered a new skill, you can show it on your CV.
In this case, there are many options to choose from when you want to enhance your skills. You can check out platforms like Google Digital Garage, Coursera, Hubspot, etc to select a suitable online course.
6) Shuffle your schedule
There will be a significant shift in your regular schedule once you get back your career. So, you need to prepare yourself to adjust to a new schedule. This process could take a little getting used to.
If you want this transition to go smoothly, it’s vital that you take your time and ease into a different routine, instead of rushing into it. Keep yourself busy with chores and activities. Set up an alarm in the morning and switch off the gadgets early at night.
Each day should have a new purpose; create to-do lists, finish off chores, apply for jobs or work on your resume. Ultimately, you’ll feel good about yourself if you take measures to develop your confidence.
7) Be open to new opportunities
At times, you may be presented an opportunity, but it may not be what you had in mind. However, it’s crucial that you don’t dismiss chances so easily.
Opportunities appear when an employer wants to see how you will work within the organization after a long gap from your career. So, it’s vital that you consider these opportunities to show how efficiently you can work for them.
For instance, you may be keen on establishing a career in content marketing. But you are presented with an opportunity in the domain of social media. In this case, you shouldn’t disregard this chance completely.
8) Forget the stereotypes
Irrespective of who you are, what your age or gender is, the phenomenon of stereotyping is always going to be there when looking for a job. However, the key is to steer clear of those stereotypes and make potential employers understand how efficient you can be.
The idea is not to emphasize on the stereotypes, but instead on the positives of how efficiently you worked before when you were active as a professional. The focus should also be on what you can provide the employer if they hire you. That way you will make it easy for them to pick you over other candidates.
9) Prepare for the interview
The greatest challenge you may encounter during interviews is convincing that you aren’t going to leave. The trick, in this case, is to show your commitment.
Now one common blunder made when talking about your life before the break as if it was a long time ago. It’s obviously in the past, but it’s best not to emphasize it. It wouldn’t be wise to highlight how long you have been away from professional life.
You need to prove that you are as skilled as someone who has been consistently working in your particular field. You also need to show that you know everything about the organization and the sector they are in.
Employers want to make sure that you’re ready for the job role. Gaps only become an issue if you aren’t able to explain them cohesively. So, say it as it is and don’t be apologetic. You can check out this post by ‘The Muse’ on the significant questions asked during job interviews.
10) Having confidence is necessary
Whether you’ve been detached from work for a few months or a couple of years, re-entering the professional sphere can undoubtedly be tiresome. However, the essential thing is that you remain confident about your abilities. Without confidence, you will end up undermining what you can offer an employer.
Take note of the strengths and skills you possess on a piece of paper. Mention those elements during your job search, to help you get noticed. If you’re unsure, ask your family and acquaintance to share their feedback on where your strengths lie. They may offer suggestions you hadn’t thought about before.
Aside from researching the organization, you should also look at their competitors, go through the latest industry news and research industry trends. When you have all the details you need, it will help you to be much more confident, specifically during interviews.
So, it’s commendable if you have decided to re-enter the professional field. But, getting back to work after hiatus has multiple aspects to take into account. You may be still apprehensive about your efficiency as a professional. But following these tips can put all these apprehensions to rest.