How to Approach Getting Back to Work After a Break in Your Career

How to Approach Getting Back to Work After a Break in Your Career

It can happen to anyone, whether intentional or not, sometimes taking an extended break from work is inevitable. Maybe you’ve been recovering from illness or an injury, or perhaps you simply needed an extended vacation. Temporary unemployment in a competitive job market can also trigger a longer-than-expected break.

Getting back to work, however, isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Here are some tips to help make it less of a challenge.

Be Confident

While some hiring managers and recruiters will be understanding, some may be apprehensive. That’s why you’re going to have to put your best, most confident foot forward. Brush up on the necessary skills, revamp your resume, and practice interviewing with a friend or family member. Updating everything can boost your confidence going in, but interview prep is key.

Assess Your Goals

Take some time to really think about what you need and what you want out of a job. Instead of just applying to all sorts of postings, consider your own fulfillment. Do you want to return to the same sort of job you had before? Would you like to try something new? Ask yourself important questions like these before diving in.

Consider your needs – from salary requirements and flexibility to anything else you might require. Make a list of must-haves and reflect on what you’ve learned during your time away. Have you learned anything new?

Reassess Your Industry

If you’ve been away for a while, things may have changed. Spend some time researching anything new and refamiliarizing yourself with the field. Salaries may have changed, too, so make sure to check on those as well.

Networking is key. If you have former colleagues to whom you can reach out, you definitely should. Not only could they have potential job leads for you, they can also help you get caught up to speed. They may also have tips on reentering the workforce as well.

Prepare to Search

While we already mentioned updating your resume, it might also help to rearrange it. Using a functional resume as opposed to one that’s chronological can lessen the emphasis on your time off.  Don’t forget to update things like your LinkedIn profile as well.

Also, be ready to explain your absence from the workforce, but keep it concise. You’ll likely need to mention it in both correspondence (like your cover letter) and in interviews. But don’t spend more than a sentence or two on it if you can help it. Most circumstances are understandable, and if you can turn them into a positive, that’s a plus. If you learned things during your time off, do mention that. Then you can return to discussing past, relevant work experience.