Career breaks happen. You may have lost your job due to the pandemic or you may have taken time out to look after a relative. You may have decided to travel for a year or volunteer.
The reason isn’t important. What is important is the fact that you want to get back into work within your industry and you want to integrate back into the workplace as seamlessly as possible.
If you’ve decided that you’re ready to land your next role, make sure that nothing stands in your way. Within this guide, we will take a look at the best advice for getting back into the workplace after a break of any length. Here’s what you need to know to get started.
Research changes in your industry
Whether you’ve been looking for work for a year or ten, the chances are that your industry has changed somewhat. Thanks to never-ending advances in technology, all sectors are moving forward at a fast rate. Before you start your job search, it’s time to ensure that you’re up-to-date with the latest processes and trends in your specific industry.
Luckily enough, there are a few approaches you can try here. For instance, you can read industry-centric media, such as magazines and online publications. You may want to subscribe to a publication that focuses solely on your industry and the latest news.
However, you shouldn’t stop there. One of the best ways to learn how your industry has changed is to speak to someone who currently works within it. Reaching out to a professional for an informal chat could make all the difference. For example, you might want to invite an old coworker to have a coffee over Zoom. Equally, you could find a professional on LinkedIn and ask them if they would mind answering some questions.
Upskill and learn new things
Once you know where the gaps in your knowledge are, it’s time to fill them. One of the easiest ways to do that is to upskill and learn new things. You don’t have to attend classes to tick this box. You can study in your own time, at your own pace and in your own home.
Taking an online course that is specific to your industry is a simple and effective way of ensuring that your skill-set suits the modern-day workplace. We put together an excellent article that goes through some of the other benefits that upskilling can have for your career.
You can sign up for a course depending on your needs. Not only will this approach help you to sharpen your skills and prepare you for getting back into work, but it also shows your intent to succeed. When a recruitment officer looks at your CV, they will see that you have taken the time to invest in yourself. That means that you have the confidence in your own abilities that will inspire trust from your potential employer.
Network, network, network
You should never underestimate the power of networking! Believe it or not, sending off a CV when you see a job posting isn’t always the best way to land your dream role. In fact, <a “85% of job positions are filled through networking. To give yourself the best chance of success, you need to start meeting the right people and making an impression.
Face-to-face networking sessions may not be happening as often as usual right now, but don’t panic. There are plenty of ways in which you can reach out to professionals. LinkedIn is a prime social channel for this. Take the time to connect with professionals in your field and direct message them about any open opportunities.
You can also use Facebook to reach out to people. While you should not add people you don’t know on this platform, you can join private groups that are specific to your sector. For example, should you hope to land a role in marketing, you could join a ‘Marketing Professionals’ group on the social media site. Doing so could help you to hear about new roles before they are posted elsewhere online, giving you a competitive edge.
Work on your CV and LinkedIn
Next up, it’s time to work on your CV. If you want to land a new job and rejoin the workforce, this short and sweet document needs to be in tip-top shape. That means that you need to take some time to work on it and get things right. Keep in mind that recruiters spend just <a “six seconds looking at CVs on average before deciding whether a candidate fits the bill.
If you want to stand out from the crowd, ensure that this document shows off your skillset well. You could use a CV writing service or speak to a friend or family member to help you. Having a fresh pair of eyes look at this document will help you spot any flaws in it and rectify them before you start applying for jobs within your sector.
Your LinkedIn profile is essentially your digital CV. These days, many recruiters ask for a link to this page rather than having you send a document through. For that reason, you need to ensure that your profile is up to scratch. Update it with all the relevant information, such as your career history, education, online courses, and skills. You can also have former co-workers and managers give you testimonials to strengthen your profile.
When writing your CV, do some keyword research first. Including high-ranking phrases that relate to your industry will help you get past applicant tracking systems (ATS).
Explain your career break
Shall we talk about the elephant in the room? One of your biggest fears when it comes to returning to the workplace is likely having to explain why you took a break in the first place. However, whether it’s in an interview or on your CV, you’re going to need to explain why you were not working for a period of time. Be sure to keep things brief and factual.
Whatever the reason is for this break, try to keep it to just one sentence. For example, you might say, ‘I’ve been unemployed since my company downsized due to Covid’ or ‘I took a year out to look after a relative.’ You don’t need to sugar-coat the reason that you took a break. However, there’s also no need to over-explain it.
If you feel that your CV has a lot of gaps, why not consider creating a skills-based CV? This allows you to show off your expertise in a way that doesn’t highlight any gaps. Read our dedicated guide to find out how you can create your own.
Boost your confidence
Feeling nervous about re-entering the workforce? Ahead of applying for jobs, take a moment to focus on all the skills that you have to bring to a new role. If you’re feeling down on yourself, try a quick activity where you write down your strengths.
You can also ask your friends or family to weigh in here. While it’s scary to walk back into a job, remind yourself of all the skills, education, and experience you have. You’ve got this!
Ready to start applying for roles and searching for your dream job? Getting back into work is a new chapter of your life, and it’s an exciting time. Now that you’ve got your mind set on getting what you want, take the steps toward it. Get started today and reach your goal.
If you’re looking to learn new skills that will help you to move forward and return to the workforce with confidence, why not explore our wide range of courses that can help you make your next big move.