There are many reasons why people take a career break. The one that probably immediately springs to mind is a period of child care, but this is far from the only reason. Extended health issues, returning to education, caring for a sick relative or just taking time out to travel or follow other interests are all regular motivators for people to take a break from their current work path. Because of the commonly chosen option for women to be the primary carer for a new child, it is no surprise that there are considerably more women returning after a break than men. Sadly, if you take a few moments to google the statistics about women returning to the workplace, it produces some worrying and often rather frustrating data about how a career break can affect the prospects and conditions for the returners. However, this article is not about that. Rather than dwell on the issues surrounding career breaks, let’s focus on the returner themselves and consider a few things that could ease the move back onto a career path.
How to Get Back into Your Career
It is unlikely that your skills and talents have suddenly become unwanted. Do not allow yourself to fall into the trap of thinking that things have changed beyond recognition. Certainly, some things will have changed but your skill set is still the same, and it will still be valid.
Check in with yourself and see who you are now. What we mean here is that you may have taken a break, but it is unlikely that you stood still. Make a list of the things you learned while you were out of the workplace.
Do not jump at the first job that comes along. Plan your return and look at it as a career opportunity. In much the same way that extended unemployment can result in the feeling that you need to grab at anything that is out there, returning to work can make you feel you have no options. This is not the case – good employers will recognise you for what and who you are.
Try to see the big picture. One easy trap to fall into is to see being back at work as the only important thing. It is far from it because you have a whole career ahead of you.
Do not undervalue yourself. While there is a certain acceptance needed that you have taken a break (see the next comment) that does not mean you should undervalue your skills and work for below your market value.
Be realistic and be confident. Be realistic in your search because the perfect role may not be available. There is a big difference between selling yourself short and accepting an interim role to re-build your career path. You are playing the long game with a career, and sometimes that may mean a strategic move to get where you need to go.
One of the upsides to returning to work is that it is a good time to stand back, pause and take stock. A break from your career could well be a good time to assess where you are going and what you want out of your working life. It is not uncommon for people to change careers or perhaps aim at a different long-term goal after taking some time out. It is a very candidate driven market right now, and employers are being more flexible than ever. Why not chat through your options with us and together we can consider what is the right path for you?