Returning to work after a career break can feel incredibly daunting and lonely. Many people have experienced this, and for a variety of reasons, like redundancy or an extended period of time off caring for young children.
Please take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone and that there are several practical steps you can take to make the transition as stress-free as possible.
In this blog, I’d like to share my top five tips with you. I hope that you find them helpful!
1. Create a plan
What’s that age-old saying? A vision without a plan is just a dream. A plan without a vision is just drudgery… but a vision with a plan can change the world. So, if you’re keen and ready to change your world, then it’s planning time!
Here are a few things to consider when creating your plan:
- What do you want from your new role? Is it a fresh challenge or returning to a similar position?
- Do you need flexible working arrangements such as condensed hours or the ability to work from home?
- Do you have all the necessary skills to step straight back into the workplace or would you need to complete some training in advance? It helps to research job adverts to find the skills and experience employers are looking for.
- Could you benefit from volunteering in your chosen sector? This is a fantastic way to gain up-to-date references, boost your confidence and build networks.
Once you have clarity on your vision and the steps you may need to take to achieve it, you should feel much more in control and ready to take action.
2. Find a coach
You probably have lots of different thoughts and feelings swirling around in your head. How has the workplace changed since I left? Will I feel confident stepping back into the working environment? How will people receive me and my career break? It’s helpful to seek professional guidance to make sense of everything and to get the best advice from those who have experience in this area.
3. Shape your career break story
Whatever you do, don’t just leave a huge gaping hole on your CV and hope that nobody notices! My advice is to get ahead and shape the narrative in your favour. List all the skills you’ve developed during your career break and find a professional ‘angle’ to all your acquired experiences. For example, if you’ve been caring for young children, then your negotiation and time management skills are probably second to none and any organisation would be lucky to have you!
4. Look for the positives
Stepping back into the hustle and bustle of working life feels a little scary, right? But exciting possibilities lie ahead of you! Consider this a clean slate and a perfect opportunity to try something new, if that’s what you desire. Depending on how long your career break has been, there may be many different roles and industries to explore. So, it’s worth taking the time to do your research and find out as much as you can about these new and emerging prospects.
5. Build your tribe
Creating a network of people who’ve been in your shoes and/or want to support you as you gain the necessary skills and experience you require to succeed, can be the difference between sinking and swimming! Join Facebook groups, build up your connections on LinkedIn, set up a WhatsApp group or meet old colleagues for a coffee and a chat. A good support network will really help as you transition back into the workplace.
Would you like more tips about returning to work after a career break?
To discuss how I can support you in returning to the workplace and finding a rewarding and exciting career, please get in touch with me to book a free, no-obligation 30-minute consultation.