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10 Tips to Get Back to Work after a Career Break

If you had spoken to me this time last

year, I never would have believed I would be in the position I am in now.

Whether you’ve been out of the workplace for one year or many years, the thought of restarting your career can be daunting.
The following 10 tips are directly inspired by our library of success stories of people
like you who have taken time out from work only to return stronger than ever.
Read on and you never know where you might be this time next year.

1. Prepare to step out of your comfort zone
No-one can deny that rejoining the workplace
after an extended leave is a scary prospect, but it’s also an exciting one. Push
yourself out of your comfort zone and you never know what might happen. What
have you got to lose? Read Natalie’s story

2. Shape
the narrative of your career break

There are as many career break stories as there
are returners, and you are the only person who can tell yours. Think about all
of the skills you have built up in your time off work, and how they could
benefit an employer. You don’t need to make excuses for your career break or
try to hide it; it could actually end up being your biggest asset! Read Fiona’s story
Work out what YOU need

Take time to have a serious think about what you
want from a job, and consider how much flexibility and support you would need. It’s
important to have those conversations with potential employers upfront to avoid
conflict and frustration further down the line. Don’t forget that you’re
assessing companies for their suitability just as much as they’re assessing
you. Read Clare’s story
4. Develop
a new specialism

It’s never too late to learn something new.
Whether you want to update your existing knowledge or head off in a different
direction, there are more study options now than ever, including short courses,
distance learning and on-the-job training. It’s worth taking the time to do
your research, such as looking at job adverts to find out which qualifications
potential employers are looking for. Read Carolyne’s story
5. Reach
out to your network

If you feel like you’ve got a gap in your
knowledge, then another option is to find someone to bring you up to speed.
You’re bound to have a contact in your industry who could help, either from a
previous job or your studies. Don’t be afraid to reach out, e.g. on LinkedIn,
and tell people what you need without worrying about what you can offer in
return. These same networks can also point you in the direction of
opportunities and could even open a door for you somewhere along the line. Read Carolien’s story

6. Apply your skills in a new field
Taking time out from work can provide you with the
distance you need to come back with a fresh pair of eyes and reassess your
career plan. This could be the perfect opportunity for you to move across to a
new area. Take some time to look around, talk to people, and see what’s
available. Read Maria’s story

7. Find your tribe

A good support network can make all the difference in ensuring a
smooth transition back into the workplace. You can set up your own group with
people you already know, face-to-face or on WhatsApp, or join our Women Returners group (for network members) on LinkedInRead Clare’s story

8. Consider coaching
If you’re unsure about how to explain your
career gap, worried about the practicalities of juggling family commitments with
a new job, or suffering from a lack of confidence or direction, you could
benefit from some career coaching. (find out about Women Returners coaching here). Read Kate’s story

Look for volunteering roles in your sector

If you’ve been out of the workplace for a long
period, a volunteering role in your sector will bolster your CV with recent and
relevant experience, bring you up to speed with new developments and provide
you with references and new contacts in your industry. Some roles provide
training too. Read Antje’s story
10. And finally, don’t give up! 
It’s all too easy to lose confidence and feel
demoralised when looking for a job using traditional recruitment routes if you
have a non-traditional career path, but with more and more companies in the UK coming
around to the benefits of offering returner programmes and/or flexible working, there
are new opportunities available all the time. And one of them may well have
your name on it! Read Anna’s story

If you have decided to make the move back into
the workplace this year, or you’re simply considering your options at the
moment, make sure you’ve signed up to our network (sign up here) to get return-to-work advice, support, information and opportunities.

Posted by Elaine