In March 2022, LinkedIn launched a new feature to enable users to include a Career Break within the ‘Experience’ section of their LinkedIn profile. At Women Returners, we are really excited by this development, as it is a big step towards normalising career breaks and recognising that lives – and careers – don’t always go in straight lines. It helps us to tackle our mission to make extended career breaks a normal part of a 40 to 50 year career, removing the ‘Career Break Penalty’. And it helps our returner community to highlight some of the fantastic skills and experiences you have gained during this life stage.
LinkedIn’s Research on Career Breaks
LinkedIn carried out a global survey of 23,000 workers and 4,000 hiring managers. They found that 46% of hirers felt that candidates with career breaks are an untapped talent pool. This is huge progress compared with 2014 (when we started Women Returners) when career returners were largely invisible to recruiters. Further insights from their survey revealed that :
- 64% of people wish there was a way to positively represent career breaks to hirers
- 50% of hiring managers believe people returning from a career break have often gained valuable soft skills and 46% believe candidates undersell them
- 74% of people who have taken a career break believe employers valued the skills they gained during it
Why should you add a Career Break section?
- By adding a career break to your ‘Experience’ section of your profile, you can easily explain your “CV gap” and address any potential concerns employers may have about what you were doing since your last role.
- It allows you to highlight experiences from during your break, with any relevant transferable skills you’ve gained. These may be skills from parenting or caring, or from other activities you’ve been involved with during your break. You may have run a small business from home or done some consulting for a friend or ex-colleague; been involved in skilled voluntary work such as being a Charity Treasurer or Trustee or a School Governor; organised a community-based activity like a children’s sports team; taken courses to upskill in your specialism or learn about something new; travelled or relocated, experiencing different cultures and learning a new language. Each and every experience contributes to the wealth of skills you can offer to a future employer.
- As employers running returnships or supported hiring programmes are explicitly looking for people who have taken a career break (usually a minimum of 18 months – 2 years), you can clearly show your eligibility for these programmes which provide such valuable supported routes back to work.
How to add a Career Break section?
To add this exciting new feature to your profile simply go to your profile, click on ‘Add section’ and ‘Add career break’. You’ll be cheered on by the message that greets you – ‘Experiences outside a linear career path can make people better colleagues, thought partners and leaders. Share these moments that make you unique’
You’ll be given the opportunity to add your career break dates and to include the reason for it if you feel comfortable doing so. There are 13 options including full-time parenting, caregiving, health, a gap year, bereavement and other life reasons. For a step-by-step guide see https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/answer/a597655
Now, there’s a reason to celebrate!