How to Get Back to Work After a Career Break
There are many reasons to take a career break, and whether you’ve been away for six months or six years, it can be overwhelming to think about returning to work. Restarting your career can be stressful, but with the right preparation, it doesn’t have to be. Keep reading for some helpful tips on how to get back to work after a career break.
Consider What You Want from a Job
Whether or not your career break was intentional, you don’t have to compromise on what you want from a job. Before diving back into the job search, consider what you’re looking for in a career. Do you want full-time or part-time work? Do you need flexibility and the option to work remotely? Whatever your must-haves are, do your research on the company’s work culture and policies before your interview so you can determine if they suit you.
Research Your Target Industry
If you’re returning to your previous career field, research any new technologies or innovations that may have emerged during your time away. Technology can progress quickly, so it’s important to stay up to date on industry knowledge.
Sometimes, a career break helps you realize you want an entirely different job. If you’re changing careers, be sure to contact any industry contacts you have and research what it takes to be successful in your new field. On your resume, emphasize your transferable skills and, if necessary, take a class to learn new information or boost your existing knowledge.
Update Your Resume
Being unemployed for a while doesn’t have to mean a gap in your resume. Highlight any job-related skills you’ve picked up during your career break – which may be more than you think. For example, you can include any volunteer work, courses, conferences, or professional development on your resume. And if you’ve taken time off to care for a new baby or another family member, highlight the organizational and time management skills you’ve gained during that time.
Be Prepared to Explain Your Career Break
After you’ve landed an interview, you should prepare for how you’ll discuss your unemployment. While it isn’t necessary to give a long response or go into too much personal detail, you should briefly explain to the interviewer why you’ve taken a career break. Try to keep it positive and focused on the future. For example, you could say something like:
I’m interested in pursuing a new career and needed to take some time away to consider my next steps.
I took time off to address some personal family matters, but I’m excited about this role and the potential to get back to work.
No matter what your reasons are for your time out of the workforce, it’s important to be honest and straightforward and let the hiring manager know you’re ready for this next step in your career.
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