There are hundreds of reasons why someone might want to take a career break, and the transition when going back to work can feel daunting. Taking out several months or years can leave you with a gap in industry knowledge and degrade your professional connections if left unmaintained.
But, try not to worry if you’re returning to work after a career break and instead focus on building your confidence by carefully repositioning yourself back towards where you once were.
Step One: Make an assessment of your situation
You’ll have a great idea of where you were once you left work for your career break, but how about now? While you might be eager to step back into the world of work, you need to take the time to fully evaluate your situation as it currently stands.
Under no circumstances should you jump straight into an interview as your lack of insight in regards to your own position and the industry as a whole will undoubtedly leave the interviewer with a bad impression.
Take the time to carefully examine the industry, work out if you have any gaps in your knowledge, and think about whether you are pursuing the right line of work after your career break. After all, it’s never too late to explore your options if you think you’ll be more satisfied and better financially compensated doing something else.
Step Two: Adjust your CV to include your career break
Your career break has happened so there’s no point in trying to hide it and deceive potential employers. After taking a break, many professionals worry that a gap in their CV is going to ruin their career. Obviously, this isn’t going to be the case if you show that it’s helped you progress your career or personal life in some way.
Did you take a break for your family, volunteer work, further education, or to expand on your leadership skills? There are all kinds of reasons why a career break might have helped you more than being in work. So, don’t shy away from updating your CV to reflect the way you’ve grown as a person and a professional.
Step Three: Reignite your professional connections
There’s no doubt you’ve probably lost contact with some of your old work colleagues and friends over time. But that doesn’t mean they’ve forgotten who you are and aren’t willing to help you get back in the world of work.
Reach out to your old colleagues, clients, family, and friends to explain that you’re looking to get back into work. People know people, so you’ll be sure to hear about open or upcoming positions in your industry. Additionally, it’s worth considering asking your most reputable colleagues and clients to act as a reference while looking for a new position.
Step Four: Make preparations for upcoming interviews
Best practice is being prepared for an interview. But, you will need to up your game if you’re thinking of going back to work. You will have questions asked about your career break so make sure you have some answers ready that reinforce your suitability for the role you’re applying for. Remember that you took your career break for a reason and that it’s what makes you right for the position in question.
Step Five: Investigate opportunities in career return programmes
You’ll already be trawling through job boards in search of employment opportunities, but remember not to forget about your options with career return programmes. Career return programmes are designed to help you readjust when returning to work by providing support that tailored around your unique requirements. While you might feel it unnecessary, there’s no harm in seeing what you could gain from a career return programme.
Step Six: Believe in yourself and your future
Whatever your story, you have to maintain your confidence and believe in yourself. Focus on your skills and strengths and remind yourself of what you’re capable of. It can be easy to forget just how valuable your skills are with the anxiety that many people can face in the wake of a career break.
If you think your skills need updating, don’t be afraid to take a refresher course or enrol on a course to further your education. Ultimately, you’ll know what you need to balance things out should you be lacking confidence. Whatever you decide, never lose sight of your strengths and work towards rekindling your professional ambitions.
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