Getting back into work isn’t always easy, in fact, it can be a nightmare. Especially when there are so many reasons you needed a break in the first place. If you had planned your career break, you have more of a reason and can likely do something useful with the break -travel, learning, perhaps even freelancing. If however, your career break happened to you rather than you choosing it then it can be much harder to work out what to do with the gap. Some recruitment agencies and hiring managers will not be as understanding as others, so you certainly need to feel comfortable with who you choose.
It is also worth remembering that when you take time away from gainful employment the technology and skills set might change pretty quickly and dramatically.
So if you are feeling a little lost right now and now really sure how to dive back into work then these tips will work for you.
Think it Over
Look at how long you spent in your previous role, the chances are you have undersold your skills in a pretty big way. Take your time to go over it a few times. And, whatever you do, don’t just start slamming CVs into inboxes and filling in too many applications. Although being unemployed might not have been your ideal situation, you can make it work for you in the long run. Think about the role that you might actually want to take on this time. What do you want to get out of the job? Obviously, a regular wage is one of the top reasons to head back into work, but what else do you think you might like out of the situation.
Up Your Skill Set
Every industry will have a skill set. In the time that you have been away, has yours changed? Has there been new technology added? What about a funding injection in training in schools, universities and on the job? Being away means you might’ve missed important news about this stuff. It’s okay though don’t panic. Depending on your circumstances you might be able to chat with recruiting experts for your specific issues. Disability employment services play an essential role in supporting millions of people to get back into the workplace.
Volunteering is a great place to start if you need to get a feel for the work environment again. It doesn’t have to be directly linked to what you want to do in the future as many of the skills are transferable. Some volunteering spots will have access to training which you can make use of.
Training and classes. New computer programs, products, user technology, policies and procedures. Health and safety issues and even more new legal requirements are all things that you will have to get to grips with. You can find classes yourself or apply for training programs via work support services.
Real world experiences. Of course, this won’t be about your real-world experiences, this will be about finding people out in the world who share your situation. Podcasts, bloggers, vloggers – there will be someone out there who you can identify with and learn from.
You know the saying network to get work? Well, it might be time to get back to that. Just like you took time away, the chances are many people have come and gone in that period too. The people who were the big players once upon a time are likely no longer key. And there might be new faces that will be people that you should get to know. Spend some time reading any news related to what you did or what you are intending on doing. Get a feel for the field again too.
A great website to spend some time on is Glassdoor.com. It has a list of companies, the salary you might be able to expect and some other feedback that can help with the deciding factors as you move forward.
Reach out to colleagues from your past. They might be able to give you fresh insight as well as get your foot back in the door if they are on good terms with the recruiters. This is a great way to feel out your old company, or if your former colleagues have moved, then you can hear all about a new company.
Conferences and informal chats are also an excellent idea. You’ll be soaking in all of the information about the industry without needing to make any commitments. If getting to live conferences is going to be an issue, then you can find even more online. Some are free, some are paid, but all of them should give you what you are looking for in terms of information.
Practice Your Search
There is a reason that there is a whole industry dedicated to finding people the right jobs. And, that is because it isn’t easy at all. Think about the last time you applied for a job. What about the last time you spoke to a recruiter or hiring manager? When was the last time you tailored your resume to meet a job spec? When you are researching the type of jobs that you want to do, it is also a great time to work on your CV. Learn what is the new ‘must haves’ on a cv.
It will also pay for you to learn how to tailor your CV towards your proposed employer. It’s not a case of fabrication, but highlighting skill matches that will put you in prime position for the job openings. Learning to research and make key notes about the company that you want to work for, so when asked, you have valid reasons for opting to go with them.
Getting back into work can feel like a daunting task, but there are plenty of ways that you can prepare yourself and your cv ready for those all essential applications and interviews. So take a deep breath and get started.