Have you ever taken time out of your career and subsequently found yourself worrying endlessly about how to explain this break in a job interview?
I was recently asked to contribute to an article on career breaks on jobsite.co.uk. Whilst reflecting on the subject, I realised that through my coaching work I am starting to see a rise in the number of people taking career breaks. They are taken by individuals for many different reasons and at different stages of their career. Some take time off to look after their children or a sick relative, some are having time out having experienced a stressful time in their previous work, others want to experience something completely different through voluntary or project work.
Whatever the reason for your career break, returning to the workplace can feel daunting and this is often made worse by a common misconception amongst ‘career breakers’ that prospective employers will be reluctant to employ someone who has had a career break. However, you will be pleased to hear this is not true. If you focus on how you used your career break to your advantage so that a prospective employer can understand your reasons for the break and what you gained from it, they will be far more interested in employing you.
Tips for returning to work
If you are planning on or are currently taking a career break, have a read through the following headings to help you start preparing for your return to work.
Be positive about your experiences to enable you to demonstrate what you have gained from the break. Focus on what you have done, not what you haven’t done. It’s all about developing the right attitude.
Prior to taking a career break, think about what you want to achieve and how you may wish to use your experience upon your return to the workplace.
Whilst taking your career break, develop your ideas about what you want from your future career. Be open to meeting new people and discovering new opportunities.
Remember, you will always have strengths and skills to offer a prospective employer. Spend time identifying these.
Once you have decided what you want to do after your career break, make an action plan to enable you to network, seek additional help and prepare for applications and interviews.
Rehearse the benefits of your career break to ensure you can fluently explain this to a prospective employer.
If you would like to read more about career breaks, have a read of the article I referred to, ‘Taking a career break from work’, for more information and guidance.