Are you looking for a job after taking a career break? Whether you’ve taken time off to raise a family, care for a loved one, or simply pursue other opportunities, getting back into the workforce can be a challenge. How do you explain the resume gap on your CV? And how do you convince employers that you’re still the right candidate for the job?
While companies may have an issue with career breaks, there are ways you can turn your career break into an opportunity to land the right job. If you’ve taken a career break and don’t know where to start, here are some tips to help you in your job search.
Social media is a powerful tool to help you find a job. Gone are the days of job hunting by reading newspaper ads and visiting physical buildings. A lot of job opportunities are posted by recruiters on social media. Most of the hiring process may also happen on social media. Hiring managers may look for candidates, send the job description, and schedule the interview through social media.
That said, you can choose the right social network for your job hunt. Some social media platforms you can consider joining are:
- LinkedIn: Connect with more than 850 professionals worldwide and learn from LinkedIn’s Top Influencers.
- Facebook: Join Facebook groups that will help you upskill or that promote job opportunities in your area.
- Instagram: Open an Instagram page to promote your services, be inspired by other content creators, and get updated on job opportunities.
- Twitter: Follow relevant companies and personalities in your industry to receive alerts on job openings, engage with experts, and read relevant content to help you gain fresh insight.
2. Update Your Online Profile
If your last update was when you last held a job, then it’s time to update your profile. You want to be seen as a relevant candidate for job opportunities, especially on major career sites like LinkedIn, Indeed, and Glassdoor.
Here are the sections you should include in your update:
- Use an up-to-date professional photo.
- Update your contact information, like your email address and phone number.
- Add your website and work samples.
- Integrate social media networks like Twitter or Instagram, if you have a professional profile on these platforms.
- Add recruiters, previous coworkers/employers, friends, business owners, and coaches in your industry.
- Update your skills or certifications section to reflect any new skills you may have acquired during your break.
It’s also better to be honest and add a career break section to your LinkedIn Profile. Present your career break as a season to gain skills, so recruiters can focus on your capabilities rather than those years without work. For instance, traveling abroad may have helped you improve interpersonal skills that could be valuable in a multicultural organization. Or caring for a baby may have helped you learn how to manage your time better.
3. Find a Company That Gives Opportunities to Older Workers
Carol Fishman Cohen, founder and CEO of iRelaunch, gives career “relaunchers” some practical advice in an eye-opening TED talk: consider applying for an adult internship. We think of internships as applicable only to young professionals, but apparently, some companies today, Amazon and Accenture, are also giving opportunities for skilled and experienced professionals to go back to work and relaunch their careers after a career break.
If you can’t find an adult internship, you can also look for more inclusive companies that don’t discriminate because of age or experience. Check out the companies that have signed the Employers Pledge Program with AARP, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that empowers people to choose how they live as they age. Companies on AARP’s list, like Airbnb, Lenovo, and Shutterstock, are committed to considering all applicants, regardless of age.
4. Create a Skills-based or Hybrid Resume
While there are many resume formats you can choose from, a skills-based or hybrid resume may be the best option after a career break. You can look at examples of the three main resume formats in what is a hybrid resume, and do you need one?
A skills-based resume highlights your skills and qualifications instead of your work history. This can be beneficial if you have gaps in your employment history or if you are changing careers. A hybrid resume is a combination of a chronological and skills-based resume. This format can also be helpful if you have gaps in your employment history, allowing you to showcase your skills while still providing a chronological overview of your work history.
5. Upgrade Your Skills
If you want to stay relevant in your field, then you need to upskill. Even if you feel like you’ve been out of the workforce for too long, it’s not too late to learn or update your skillset. Be inspired by Francis, the 42-year-old featured on CNBC Make It, who quit his job as an electrical engineer and went back to work two years later as a YouTube creator. With the accessibility of online education platforms like edX and Coursera, it’s easier to reinvent yourself.
Reflect on your goal when you start online learning. Are you an accountant who wants needs to learn the latest accounting technology? Then you can look for a specialized course like Intuit Bookkeeping Professional Certificate, which also gives you hands-on practice with the accounting software QuickBooks Online. Or maybe you want to improve on your soft skills? Then you can try Empathy and Emotional Intelligence at Work at edX.
6. Inform Your Social Circle
If you’re planning to return to work after a career break, one of the best things you can do is keep your social circle informed. Your family and friends can point the way to job opportunities, but don’t neglect your online network as well. You never know which of your contacts can lead you to your next job!
If you’ve been out of the loop for a while, explore the different features of social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook, which help you reach a wider audience. You can use these platforms to post a positively-worded message or send an instant message to recruiters, business owners, or employees from organizations you’d like to work with.
Turn Your Career Break Into an Opportunity
Job hunting after a career break may make you feel at a disadvantage. However, plenty of resources and support systems are now available to help you find the right job. Maybe you just need new strategies and a better perspective. With the right tools and mindset, a career break will not be a weakness. It may even be an opportunity for you to network, upskill, work at an inclusive company, and land your best job yet.
Maybe you’re not sure what job to apply for after your career break. Maybe you’re even thinking of switching careers. You might also be interested in finding out how you can successfully change careers at any point in your professional journey.
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