A career break could run for a year or a decade. Especially as the workforce reimagines itself as a result of the pandemic. The reasons you went for the career break are irrelevant. Regardless of your circumstance, you will face the daunting task of reentering the work environment. The challenges you will face include a skills gap since your compatriots have gained more experience while you were away. If you had returned to school, you could be regarded as too educated for some positions and inexperienced for others. Your expectations also pose a challenge to employers who might not be willing to pay you as much as you want.
How do you deal with a return to work after a career gap to make the reentry seamless? Here are a few tips to consider.
Prepare to get out of your area of comfort
The world has not been waiting for you to return for a year or ten years. A lot has changed such that you might not recognize the landscape you left a few years ago. Expect to work with new people, technology, regulatory framework, and expectations. Depart from your comfort zone.
Take charge of your narrative about the break
Every career break is deserved and justified. It will depend on the narrative you give to the assessing panel. Turn whatever reason you give into a positive vibe. For instance, you may claim to be more aware of the IT sector because you had a chance to look at the role from the outside. Avoid a negative connotation about the gap.
Have clear goals for your next phase at work
What do you want to do in this new career phase? Look for jobs in specific areas. Skip opportunities that are not aligned with your new career goals. You must also align your skills to be within the new goals.
Prepare a new specialty
Learn a new skill that makes you a more valuable employee upon return. The skills should be related to your work environment, especially helping you to perform better. Such skills justify your absence and give a reason for you to be admitted back to work.
Your networks will be valuable
Talk to your former workmates and colleagues in the industry. They will give you a brief of the best entry point. They could even give you a job since they already know your performance.
Consider a new field of work
Look for work away from your previous environment. It offers a clean start and a challenge so that you do not feel like the years of the gap have been wasted.
You may have to start as a volunteer
A gap makes employers feel as though you are rusty. Restart as an intern or a volunteer. It reminds you of the work you used to do and gives you a chance to prove that you still can manage.
Prepare a new resume
The old resume is already obsolete. Use new words, add the skills you have acquired, and show that you are a new being.
Look for a career-returner program
This is a big one. It can really help with re-entry. There are considerate organizations accommodating people returning to professions after a gap. Such opportunities increase the chances of being hired.
It will not be an easy ride
Some people will appreciate and understand your reasons while others do not. Prepare for obvious challenges in your attempt to secure a job. Prepare for the interviews and be positive about the gap.
Returning to work after the gap requires a positive attitude. Use your network to understand the new work environment and increase your chances of being hired. You must prove that you are a better person as a result of the gap. It is your narrative that will win the hearts of potential employers.