We are often approached by candidates who are looking to get back into the workforce after a career break, and want to get hired. They may have taken extended maternity leave, managed children or ageing parents or have been travelling the world (pre COVID), or taken time out to volunteer. 64% of female and 29% of male workers in Australia and New Zealand say they have taken a career break, according to a diversity and inclusion report.
Returning to the workforce after a career break is a challenging idea, especially since you’re likely to have changed your focus or have new skills that you want to incorporate. Some people find they change significantly and have new goals. It’s a definite that your priorities and interests will have changed whilst being in a new environment. Some of your skills may need updating, software and apps can change quickly. However, once you’ve decided to rejoin after your career break, there should be nothing stopping you!
Sounds a little rudimentary, but carefully consider the support you have at home, and any changes you might need to make to ensure a smooth transition back into the workforce. This may include childcare, administrative support, arranging help with ageing parents, deciding on your work location and most importantly, resetting your priorities. All this helps make a success of a new job from day 1, and leaves you stress free.
What role do you want? Is it full-time or part-time? Do you need flexible working arrangements, at the cost of a lesser salary? What industries are you keen to join? Knowing your wishlist, and the parameters can help you focus on jobs that are relevant to you.
With the current flexible and remote working options (thanks COVID), there’s many ways you can work to a different schedule if you have carer responsibilities. Employers are more flexible than ever, and it’s the perfect time to re-join the workforce if you require flexible working.
Now that you know the role you’re interested in, do you need to update some skills to land it? If yes, speak to your network, understand where you stand and what you need to learn. Today’s online learning platforms like LinkedIn Learning, edX and many more leave no topic too hard to learn.
Along with a skill update, also subscribe to relevant industry news, join LinkedIn groups that are key to the industry or role that you are applying for. Know the discourses and stay updated!
Spend some time to think about what you have learnt during your time away. There are many smaller things like time management, productivity, people skills that most candidates do not think about – but you’re bound to have increased some organisational skills that are important in the workforce.
When looking to get hired after a career break, don’t forget to use your existing connections. Spend some time reaching out to your previous colleagues, clients, friends and family. Let them know that you’re seeking a new position. Catchup with them to bring yourself up to date with the industry insider information.
Remember to be specific, tell them what you are looking to do and what your parameters are, being clear on what you want will help them think about opportunities in their network. Just saying “I need a job”, will not get you a lot of interest.
This way, you’ll also be front of mind when something comes up, especially since they already know your work ethic. Ensuring that you’ve done the above steps, you might just land up a role that wasn’t even advertised!
Update your LinkedIn profile to be professional and ensure your headline includes relevant industry keywords. Your summary can include your career break, highlights and aspirations. Make sure you check your previous experience dates and perhaps get some testimonials written. Read our blog for LinkedIn profile updates here.
Re-entering the workforce is the best time to contemplate and assess your strengths and weaknesses, and how they’ve changed over time. When you approach a career break as a time you cultivated positive change, or created meaningful relationships, it’s more likely that you speak about the break with pride and confidence, which shows in your interviews with employers.
Remember to be honest about your career break, and own it! It won’t be too long before you land up your dream job.
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