Updated: Jun 25, 2019
Prepare yourself for professional success after taking time off
Returning to work after a break can be an intimidating endeavor. Although you may be ready and willing to pick up right where you left off, it can be hard to know where to begin or how to convince an employer that you’re still a valuable asset to their organization.
While it’s true that resuming your career after a temporary absence puts you in a unique position when searching for a job, that’s no reason to feel nervous, insecure, or overwhelmed. Take note of the following tips before jumping back into the job pool.
1. Be honest
Explaining a gap in your resume can be a nerve-wracking part of the interview process. Many people take temporary absences, whether to raise children, to care for an ailing parent or family member, to take advantage of an extended travel opportunity, or as part of an involuntary layoff – remember that these aren’t unusual circumstances. Don’t try to minimize or hide your career gap, it is more likely to come across negatively if you do.
Be upfront but put a positive spin on your leave, followed with a sentiment about why you’re eager to return to work. For instance, if you stayed home to raise a child, state that you’re grateful you had the opportunity to be there during a critical stage of development but that you’re better suited to professional life and enthusiastic about recommitting to that aspect of your life.
2. Revamp your resume
Start your job search with confidence by updating your resume to highlight your experience, strengths, and abilities. Ask friends for feedback or invest in a resume writing service for assistance. Although you don’t want to be disingenuous about your career gap, there’s no need to draw attention to it, either. Search online for layouts that are not chronological.
If you volunteered, did freelance work, or continued your education during your career gap, be sure to add that information to show that you were still active and engaged during the time you spent unemployed.
3. Build your network
There’s a good chance that your professional network fell by the wayside while you weren’t working. Personal connections can go a long way in securing new employment. Reach out to prior colleagues, update your LinkedIn page, and ask friends in related industries for suggestions or advice.
Although it involves some time and effort, fostering relationships is an investment that can really pay off. Attend association meetings, invite old acquaintances out to coffee, join a networking club, and start asserting a social presence that could help you land on your feet professionally.
4. Continued education
Depending on the industry you’re involved in and how long you’ve been out of work, it may be beneficial to update your skills with a license, certification, or training course. Not only does it refresh your professional knowledge, but it also shows your new employer that you’re serious about rejoining the workforce and proactive about staying current in your industry.
Furthermore, refreshing your skills can go a long way toward rebuilding your confidence.
5. Personal polish
Stepping out of the professional environment for a while can make you feel like you’re no longer a part of that world. While you’re out of work, spend some time rebuilding your career-related confidence. Update your wardrobe so that you’ll have adequate interview outfits, research questions potential employers might ask and request that friends and family help you practice.
The key to success involves both preparation and perseverance; plan a strategic re-entry into the work world and know your worth. Taking a break from your career is no reflection on your ability, experience, or skills. Remind yourself of that, prepare as much as possible, and regain a posture of confidence that conveys well in the workplace.
Gigi wants to share her experiences with you. And she does just that in her book, “Unstoppable!” Nobody knows how to survive and thrive better than Gigi. If you’re getting back into the job market after an extended absence or hitting plateaus and need guidance, let Gigi guide you to becoming the best you possible.