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Job Searching After A Career Break

Updated: Jul 20, 2023

Elizabeth Willetts from Investing In Women shares some useful insights and tips

After taking a career break, how do you start looking for a new job?

It's important to remember that lots of people take career breaks during their working life. Perhaps you’ve taken time out to look after young children or an elderly relative. Maybe you were off work due to illness, spent time volunteering or even travelled the world! Whatever your reasons, know that career breaks are increasingly common. And there's no such thing as a job for life!

But, often, people lose confidence whilst on their career break. They worry employers won't want to hire them, and their skills and experience will be outdated

In this article, I will discuss the best way to confidently look for a new job if you've had an extended career break

Here are my 5 top tips:

What do YOU want?

Before jumping into your job search, think about what you want from work and what success means to you. You may have changed during your career break. What hours do you need, what salary and what do you enjoy doing. Maybe you fancy a career change – a career break provides the perfect opportunity to change direction

Spend some time reflecting on your career break. Did you develop new skills in caring for others? Spent time volunteering? Took courses or started a side hustle? Whatever you did, you'll have gained new skills and perspectives that will be transferable back to the workplace

Update your CV

Now it’s time to write your CV to reflect the jobs you want to apply for, and include the relevant skills and experience you gained during your career break

Don’t try to hide your career break. Lying about dates could come back to haunt you. And remember - you are more than your career break, so it’s nothing to be embarrassed about

Writing the following (or similar, depending on your circumstances) will suffice:

May 2018 – September 2021

Career break raising my young family

Don’t know where to start when writing your CV? Check out Elizabeth's blog post How to Write a Great CV in Six Easy Steps which offers easy-to-follow guidance

Create a Professional Profile

Once you have decided to return from your career break, you need to make sure that you have a professional profile ready to go. Having a LinkedIn profile is essential so that potential employers can see your skills and accomplishments and find you in their candidate searches. Make sure you add relevant certifications, awards and achievements to your profile. Here's a handy guide on How to Write a LinkedIn Profile Recruiters Will LOVE to get your profile job-ready

Network, network, network

Don’t forget to use your existing connections when job searching. Spend time reaching out to ex-colleagues, clients, friends and family and let them know you are searching for a new role

Studies show that at least 70% of jobs are not even advertised, so don’t be afraid of putting yourself out there. And LinkedIn is one of the best places to network and meet prospective employers when looking for a new job

Another option is to network offline. This means meeting people face-to-face at networking events, conferences or other social gatherings. It’s also possible to meet people through LinkedIn groups and Facebook pages

Apply for Jobs Online

There are several ways to apply for jobs online, including job boards, Facebook Groups and LinkedIn. There are sector-specific job boards that cater specifically for candidates looking for roles in Accounting, HR or Technology, for example, or job boards like Investing in Women that focus on flexible/part-time and return to work jobs

Practice makes perfect

It’s natural to be nervous before a job interview - particularly if you’ve not had one for some time. So spend some time practising your answers to calm your nerves and build confidence. Ask a friend or family member to be a mock interviewer and ask you some interview questions

Be prepared to discuss your career break if asked. Be clear about your reasons for your career break and what skills you learned during your time away

Don’t compare yourself to others

It can be hard not to compare yourself to others, but we are all on our own path – one that we walk at our own pace. And that speed depends on who we are, what we want and what else is happening in our lives

Please know your worth! You’re a skilled, conscientious, hardworking individual who will be a real asset to your next employer

And, remember, if a potential employer can’t appreciate you have a life outside of work, is that where you’d like to work anyway?

If you hope to return to work after a career break there is a great selection of flexible, part-time and work-from-home jobs on the Investing in Women jobs board. To see their latest flexible and part-time jobs click here

For more ideas to help you make your return to work experience a brilliant one, read these:

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