Finding a new job can be difficult even under the best of circumstances. But if you have taken time away from work for a significant period, the challenge becomes even greater. The term Relauncher is now used to describe individuals who have stepped away from a job to care for children or an aging relative, for health issues, or some other personal need. No matter what the reason, here are some things you need to know about re-entering the workforce after a career break.
Take time to assess your situation and decide what you want to do. What interests you? Depending on how long you have been on a career break, what is important to you in a job may have changed. Work/life balance may take precedence above compensation. A short commute or the ability to work from home occasionally may help in easing back work.
Evaluate your skills. Things like communication, time management, and organization are all vital attributes in the workplace. If you need to, freshen up your skills before going out on interviews. Keep up with the business news or subscribe to podcasts related to industries you are interested in. Employers worry that Relaunchers are technology obsolete. This can be true, but it’s a minor concern. Take classes and get yourself up to speed in person or online. It is up to you to demonstrate the value you bring to the job.
When looking for your first job after a career break, remember to use your existing connections. Get out and meet with former colleagues, clients, friends and family. Let them know that you are looking for a job. Go on informational interviews and talk to people about their career, industry, corporate culture, and their potential future workplace if they are switching jobs. Look for career re-entry programs. Many companies offer these paid, return to work internships in a variety of industries including finance, consumer packaged goods, consulting, and technology.
Above all else view your work gap as something positive. Don’t try and hide it on your resume. Clearly state the break and be prepared to talk about it confidently. A break can be an opportunity to take a step back and re-evaluate your future career. Carol Fishman Cohen, co-author of the book, “Back on the Career Track,” reminds Relaunchers that the memory people have of you is frozen in time. Meaning, they will remember you as the high potential worker you were before you took a career break.
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