Moving back into the workforce after a gap year, a career break, or to focus on another personal issue, can be tough. Some candidates are worried that a hole in their CV might scare off potential employers. But, in reality, that shouldn’t be the case at all. In fact, many employers are glad of the enthusiasm that returners to the workplace bring with them.
Career breaks bring about new experiences & insights
Certainly, a gap year spent travelling can provide candidates with a range of new experiences and insights that could make them more attractive to employers. A gap year is also a time when many people review and explore what the next step should be on their career ladder. The opportunity to try out casual or part-time work in areas such as volunteering, hospitality or tourism could be the beginning of a brand new career when it comes to your next job search.
So when it comes to the move back into a permanent role, on your CV you should focus on the new skills and experiences you’ve picked up during your career break. Independent travel demonstrates initiative and responsibility, so along the way, you have most likely bolstered your self-confidence and improved your decision-making skills. Alternatively, you could have gained real-life experience in industry sectors, improved your communication skills, or learned how to work effectively as part of a team – all attractive to potential employers.
Starting your job search
Getting back to job hunting and interviewing after a career break can be stressful but it’s important that you remain confident in yourself, your skills and what you have to offer. Write down a list of your best skills and attributes you feel are attractive to employers and ask friends and family about what they feel would make you a valued employee. Use your cover letter to explain your absence from the workplace and touch on what you’ve gained from your time out.
When it comes to applying for jobs, some companies have career returner programs that provide support such as part-time or flexitime to full time to help people readjust to the workplace. Demonstrating that you’re actively upskilling or doing a training course can help too.
Don’t forget to keep in touch with those you met while traveling during a career break. These are now a valuable network of contacts who could point you in the right direction when looking for a new job. In fact, networking is one of the best ways of getting back to work after a career break.
Don’t hide it, flaunt it
Most employers understand the benefits of having a gap year or career break, so don’t try to leave it out of your CV or cover it up. Instead, make it a highlight and describe what you learnt while you were away and how you can now offer more than before.
If you’re really having problems finding work after a career break, you could try volunteering to get your foot in the door. And, of course, you’ll also find plenty of jobs with companies looking for returners to the workplace with a search on Zoek.