Whether the break from your career was either planned or unplanned, returning to work or finding a new job after a long career break is no less than a challenge.
You might have taken a career break to start a family, travel, look after a loved one, to take a step back from work to enjoy different experiences, or just to simply enjoy a break and to rediscover yourself. There may also come a time when you want to plunge into your career. But, landing a new job may be quite daunting. But it can be even more unnerving as you’ve taken a break from work.
You may be anxious worrying about your new job and how to start in the right way. You might tend to doubt yourself, your capabilities and skills because a lot would have changed when you were far away from work and your workplace.
And, with time faraway from the group of workers, your skills—alongside your resume and interview skills—may additionally need an update. It may be tough to feel confident and qualified, too.
But do not panic!
Here in this article, we present to you 9 practical tips to land your new job after a career break. So, use these tips and move ahead confidently!
1. Analyze Your Situation Thoroughly
Now, you desperately need to find a new job. But, hold on! What kind of job do you need?
You seriously need to take some time to think about it.
Don’t just dive into a job search.
Instead, take some time to consider what you need, ask these questions to yourself:
- · What job will make me feel fulfilled and gratified?
- · Do I possess the required skills?
- · Will my previous experience help?
- · Which are the companies I’d want to work for?
Do you want to get back to the previous job role, or do you want to try something new?
Keeping your needs in mind, think about what you would like to change from the last position and why you are interested in working again. Prepare a list of must-haves before you could start searching for a new job, and that’s very important.
Very often, people who have returned to work after a career break just jump straight into the first job they find and this probably could turn out to be a wrong decision. If you secure a job that is not suitable for you, you are likely to keep job-hopping more frequently before you could find the right job. Also, not to forget, what might have seemed and been necessary or right to you before your career break may not be the best choice for you now. So you need to reflect on your career break and discover what’s the best thing to do.
Also, answering the questions above will provide you with a clear understanding of where you stand in your job search.
2. Start Networking Like Never Before
When you are hunting for a new job after your career break, do not forget to use your connections. Spend adequate time reaching out to your family, friends, and colleagues. Do let them know that you’re looking for a new job.
Perhaps, these valuable connections might have the perfect job for you or be able to guide you in the right direction. Networking and broadening your existing connections can not only get you potential job offers, but these contacts may also be able to keep you updated with the latest industry trends and outlook. These contacts could turn out to be good referrals that would possibly support your new job applications and push your resume to the top of the sack.
While seeking references, ensure that recommendations are of people who are in a good, reputable position in the organizations they are associated with. Strong references from people with high standing will have a positive influence on your candidature. Asking for some quality advice from your connections before restarting your career is a great way to snag the most suitable job and get into the workforce again.
3. Revamp Your Skills and Upgrade Your Knowledge
You need to do your homework to stay abreast of the changing industry dynamics and trends. You also need to be updated with the domain that you would like to work in. Being equipped with the latest skills and technologies will help you find you find a suitable job after a career break. You can always take up new online or offline courses to learn, improve and upgrade your skills and knowledge.
Depending on what job role you are trying for, take up a specific course as a way to directly benefit you and your profession. For example, if you are searching for a Marketing job that involves traditional as well as digital methods, switching to Digital Marketing will help you get a job faster.
In case you are trying for a job switch after a break, you may need to prove that you have the relevant skills and experience required for the particular job. So, taking up courses can help you gain sufficient knowledge.
Also, you may consider internships for gaining some experience. Many corporations offer internships with or without a monthly stipend.
However, when you have prior experience in some field before your career break, you may feel it’s too late to take up an internship. But an internship, irrespective of your previous work experience is a great idea to learn a few new skills and gain some expertise in the respective field.
4. Tailor Your Resume
Since you’ve been on a career break, the hiring manager or the prospective employer will always have a psychological barrier and being called for an interview itself might seem very daunting. To overcome such hurdles, you will have to do a lot of homework and research on each employer and present yourself in terms of preferred skills, expertise and domain knowledge.
The resume should emphasize your accomplishments and not be centred only on job responsibilities. It’s quite common for a candidate to believe that a career break will wreck their future career.
However, rather than seeing it as a wrong move, consider it as something positive that distinguishes you from other job seekers. Updating your resume with all the new impressive skills and knowledge you have gained during your break could fetch you the job that you’ve been seeking.
Here are a few tips for creating an appealing resume:
- Follow an impressive template or design for your resume.
- Have a well-defined resume objective that clearly says what you’re looking for and what is your key strength.
- Highlight your talents and capabilities. You can also showcase your awards, accomplishments, certifications and the technologies you’re familiar with or well versed.
- Place a hyperlink for your LinkedIn profile in your resume.
- Include every other reference like websites or tasks you were part of.
- Make use of other varieties of content material like videos or photos to stand out. For example, if you have got an exciting video content material that may show off your expertise, host the video on a platform like YouTube and location a link to it out of your resume.
- Highlight your work experience in chronological order, the latest being on top.
- Include your academic qualifications, accomplishments, and grades as well.
5. Don’t Hide Your Career Break
A career break can provide you with a lot of benefits, hiding it from your interviewer or recruiter could probably ruin the interview and your reputation.
If you’ve had a long break, you’ll have to discuss it within your cover letter, and throughout the interview. No matter what your purpose for your extended break from work, keep it brief and simple.
A simple sentence will do.
For example, “I’ve spent time caring for my newborn child,” or “It was important to me to be at home with my ill relative”, or “I’ve spent the past few years travelling to different countries” etc.
In simple words, you will have to handle the recruiter’s questions wisely. Spontaneous and candid answers do not work well, but having a diplomatic approach will undoubtedly help.
For instance, you might have quit your previous job owing to some work politics, a bad boss, or just because you hated it. However, It’s a bad idea to bluntly tell the interviewer that you quit your previous job due to the reasons mentioned above. No one, absolutely no one cares about the underlying reasons that made you quit your previous job.
Companies look for quality candidates who can benefit their organization and who would stay for a longer time contributing as much he or she can contribute to the overall growth of the company.
Most importantly, bad-mouthing your previous employer and organization will cost you your new job!
Try and convince the hiring manager that your career break was unavoidable. If you know how to convince your interviewer cleverly, you’ve got a big chance to crack the job interview successfully.
6. Switch Your Job Profile
After your career break, you can switch to a new job profile that interests you. Although it makes sense to continue in the same field as before, switching your job may be the right thing to do if your interests and goals have changed during the career break.
You can switch your job profile, start a new business of your own or explore the other available opportunities in the market. Taking new risks or starting a new venture may not be as difficult as they seem. Since you will have just returned from a career break taking risks will be much easier.
7. Apply for Jobs Via Job Portals
There are a couple of useful portals where you can find the latest job openings and apply for them. When you create a profile in these portals, ensure you’re filling up all the necessary details. This would in particular consist of your profile headline, skills, experience, instructional qualifications, achievements, private projects, etc.
Also, denote your preferences. It would indicate what kind of jobs you are looking for and in which industry.
To stand out from other profiles, you can follow these tactics:
- Have an attractive and professional photograph of yours.
- Update your relevant skills.
- Give a catchy headline to your profile. Possibly one that speaks about yourself, your skills interests, industry expertise, etc.
- Update your profile regularly. It will help your profile to stand out among that of the others.
8. Prepare for Your Interview
Before you attend your first interview after a break, ensure you’re prepared to reply to questions on your career break. You can be asked why you have a career break and what you did with your time. Make it clear, be honest in telling what you did all through your break and why you decided a career break was essential to you.
Craft your answers to demonstrate how your break from the career will benefit the role and company you’re applying for. Think wisely about some of the questions that an interviewer may ask. The interviewer might also wonder whether you’re geared up to climb the profession ladder again. You can answer this by explaining why you’re determined to re-join the workforce, emphasizing much on your passion, commitment, and focus.
Some of the Tricky Interview Questions That You Are More Likely to Face Are:
1. Why Did You Take a Career Break?
As explained above, try to answer this question in a witty manner embracing some diplomacy. Try to be honest and practical in your approach. Do not delve more into the reasons, instead prove your worth, capabilities and how you will be able to add more value to the prospective job and the company.
2. What Did You Do During Your Break?
It’s always good to keep your skill sets polished and stay updated with your field of work. You could have been involved in extensive research, freelancing work, studying new courses, programming languages or art forms like music, dance singing etc. during your break.
If you had done anything new during your career break, do tell it as it would create a favourable impression to the employer. It is mainly to demonstrate that even if you were on an extended break, you were productively engaged in something new.
Shift the discussion in the direction of how your newly gained skills and experience will be an asset to the employer and the organization.
Here you have to exhibit your sheer interest and confidence that you are very eager to join a new organization to restart your career.
Convince the employer that you are highly capable of using all the skills and expertise gained over the years to contribute to the development of the company and for your job satisfaction. Instil confidence in your employer and present yourself as the most talented and valuable candidate.
9. Stay Strong & Be Confident
It is critical to be confident while you are on a job search after a career break. You might have to deal with multiple rejections while you attend interviews. It is simple to feel low and fall into a depressing state.
But remember, every rejection is a learning possibility, and you will get stimulated through failures.
Also, ensure you are selecting the right opportunity when it comes to taking on a new job. When you finally land a new job after a long career break, make sure it is a job that you would enjoy doing.
According to research, about 84% of the millennials prefer taking career breaks for various reasons. So, you are not alone. You may feel very anxious, stressed about returning to your career. It’s quite normal to have a break in one’s career and it is more common than you may think, despite the stigma that surrounds it.
Everyone has a different career or life goals and they try to achieve those at their own pace. Do not let your self-doubt be an obstacle for you to jump into your career.
Finding a new job after a career break is not impossible, having the right skills and knowledge and some confidence and perseverance can definitely get you the job that you desire.