How to Get Back to Work After a Career Break | 5 Tried & Tested Tips
Taking a career break can feel like you have hit the pause button on a movie. The world continues to move forward while you momentarily step out of the scene. But just like hitting play again, returning to work after a career hiatus does not have to be a daunting task.
So, here are five tried and tested tips to help you get back to work with confidence after a career break, ensuring you return not just ready but also reinvigorated.
Reflect and Realign Your Goals
First things first: Take a moment to reflect on your career break. Whether it was for personal growth, family, health, or any other reason, consider what you have learned during this time. How have your interests, skills, and career aspirations shifted? Use this period of reflection to realign your career goals.
You may discover that you want to return to your previous field with renewed passion, or perhaps you are now drawn to a completely different career path. This self-awareness will serve as your North Star, guiding your job search and conversations with potential employers.
Update and Upskill
The professional world evolves rapidly. And staying abreast of the latest trends and skills in your industry is crucial. So, take proactive steps to brush up on essential skills or learn new ones relevant to your field. There are a plethora of online courses, workshops, and certifications that can help you do just that.
However, this does not just apply to technical skills. Soft skills like leadership, communication, and project management are equally important and often highly valued by employers. Showcasing that you have invested in your personal and professional development during your career break can significantly bolster your resume and confidence.
Make Deep, Meaningful Connections
Networking is not just about attending events or being active on LinkedIn (though both are important). It is about re-establishing connections with former colleagues, reaching out to professionals in your desired field, and even joining relevant groups or associations. The goal is to immerse yourself in your professional community again.
These connections can provide valuable insights and advice, and potentially lead to job opportunities. Remember, it is not just about asking for help. It is also about how you can contribute to these relationships. So, share your experiences, knowledge, and even your journey during your career break. You will be surprised how supportive and helpful people can be.
Craft Your Story
Taking a career break is not a weakness but a chapter in your story that has contributed to your personal and professional growth. Be prepared to articulate why you took a break and what you have learned during that time in a way that highlights your strengths and readiness to return to work.
However, this will be particularly useful during job interviews when you are asked about the gap in your employment. Make it clear that your career break has not diminished your value as a professional. Rather, it has enriched your perspective and skill set.
Start Small and Stay Flexible
Returning to work after a break might mean you need to adjust your expectations at the beginning. Consider part-time positions, freelance work, or temporary assignments as stepping stones. These opportunities can be invaluable for gaining current work experience, expanding your network, and easing the transition back into full-time employment.
Remember, flexibility is key. You may find that a different role or industry suits you better now. Be open to exploring various options and remember that each experience brings you one step closer to your ultimate career goal.
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