Are you thinking of returning to work after a career break?
Many of us will take a career break at some point in our lives to accommodate travel, family, study or well-being. In some careers, such as teaching, career breaks can be structured and your role will be there on your return. But for most people a career break means cutting ties with your old job completely and therefore the return to work can be a more daunting experience as there are so many variables to consider. Here are a few steps to take if you are considering re-entering the workforce.
What do you want?
Make a list of the must haves for your next job. What is the minimum pay, possible locations, maximum hours you can commit to and skills you can offer?
After that make your wish list, so similar to the above but identify the ideal job for you.
It is great to check any jobs you are considering against both lists. It helps keep you focused and also it makes it easy to assess which jobs are worth applying for.
Prepare a good CV. You should have a paragraph summarizing your strengths at the top and after that it should include contact details, employment history and education summary. I really believe a CV should be job specific so it should be reviewed for every job application and ensure that you accentuate the relevant experiences for the role in question. Put yourself in the employer’s shoes and make it easy for them to see that you are a good fit.
Think about your network of friends, ex-colleagues, family and neighbours. Who works in a similar sector or who works in a company that might suit you? Let them know you are available. Update your Linkedin profile and say that you are seeking opportunities. Recruiters will find you much faster that way. Sign up to websites that you think will have roles to suit you and if there are agencies specialising in your sector, arrange to meet them.
Prepare for interviews
Once you secure an interview, make sure you prepare well. Find out all you can about the company, get used to talking through your CV out loud, think of your achievements, how you solved problems, what your strengths are, what your 5 year plan is and most of all why you want this role and what you can bring to it. We find it hard to talk ourselves up but you have to make it easy for the employer to believe that you are the person for the job.
Be proud of your career break
Taking a break in your career means you made a brave choice at some point to step back for personal reasons. In that time, you have probably mastered a whole new range of skills from conflict resolution to time management to budgeting. Identify those skills and show how you can bring them to the workplace.
The workplace is changing and employers are becoming more flexible, a trend that is only set to continue. According to the ESRI, one of the biggest threats to growth in Ireland is a talent shortage, so the economy needs as many people as possible to re-enter the workforce.
Jane Downes is founder of FinanceTalent.ie.ie. For more see FinanceTalent.ie or email firstname.lastname@example.org