transitioning back into work after a break - 3 ways to close the gap in your work experience

imageResuming work after a long career break can be challenging for full-time workers. From justifying the reason of the break to taking a pay hit to finding a place in full-time roles again can be overwhelming for most. More so, for women, as research indicates, extended breaks can cost 43% of earning potential. Planning is a good practice for anyone who wants to take a sabbatical. Considering the possible outcomes ahead of  time can help one prepare better, both emotionally and financially. 

Here we suggest a few tips to prepare for a successful professional comeback:

 

1. staying  in touch with the industry 

It is important to know the pulse of the career field that one is planning to get back to. Researching on the latest industry standards, current job vacancies, new technology disruptions, etc. can help target the right companies and roles. Staying on top of what top employer brands are seeking in their potential employees can be a great enabler.

Networking, is another crucial tools that can assist in making a professional comeback , as former managers, colleagues and other professionals can not only get potential job leads, but also share a more realistic perspective of the current industry scenario. 

Modern learn about a potential candidate’s personality and interests from their online  activity.  . Hence, a strong online presence, that is a close representation of the individual’s skills and interests can prove to be favorable when transitioning back to work. 

2. continuous learning

A part-time work experience, an independent project, can enhance a profile, when one is trying to make a comeback after a career gap. It is great if the experience is related to the career field of interest and displays the skills needed to succeed in the new role. Even if not directly related, any other experience, such as regular volunteering can exemplify one’s capability to work in a structured environment and staying focused and dedicated to a specific goal. There is no dearth of opportunities to learn and grow. Taking up trainings and certifications, online courses, part-time/weekend classes, podcasts, refreshes skills and helps in career relaunch efforts.  

3. being prepared  

imageApplying for career re-entry programs offered by organizations can support efforts of a steady professional comeback. Today, many industry leaders such as Deloitte and JP Morgan offer programs tailored for individuals who plan to resume work after career breaks. These courses provide an opportunity to learn, reskill and even network, so one can ease their rejoining .  

A crucial question that is asked during professional re-entry is the reason behind the sabbatical. Prior preparation on responding this question well, with clarity, honesty and brevity is important for the interviewer to see reason in the choice too.   

Being ready to make the new move also involves updating  the resume and presenting skills and experience in a way to emerge as a strong potential candidate for the role. Preparing a cover letter explaining work history as well as the career gap (briefly and precisely) is important. A strong resume and a well-articulated cover letter can strengthen one’s case at the very first stage of recruitment. Updating profile on job search sites such as Glassdoor, Indeed, LinkedIn, etc. and reaching out to hiring managers personally are other key tasks for a quick comeback.

Before reaching out to recruiters, it is essential to have done some preparatory work in all the three aforementioned areas. A thorough preparation also gives one the necessary confidence for stepping back into a professional environment after a significant break. One also needs to be realistic and mentally prepared of the fact that finding a new job after a career gap will require some adjustments and skills upgradation. A recent survey of women returning to work reveals that 69% of respondents anticipate a pay cut on re-entry among other disadvantages. Transitioning back into work is definitely not a piece of cake, but a bit of planning and preparation can go a long way to make the transition better and smoother.