Returning to Work

There are many, many reasons as to why you might have taken a break in your career. You may for example have been dedicating your time to looking after a new baby, have spent time studying or travelling, have had to take time out due to ill health, etc. Regardless of the reason, the return to the workplace is never easy. However, you could also find that it is a means of reinvigorating your life, giving it renewed focus.

Flexible Thinking

If you have been out of the workplace for a while, it can be easy to feel that you no longer have the skills an employer wants. So it can be very beneficial to take a good look at the period you have spent out of the workplace, not only to consider which skills you might want to brush up on, but also to identify the skills and experiences which you have gained during this time. Were you a member of any voluntary groups for example? If so, were you perhaps involved in organising events, even on a small scale, which may have provided you with skills (administrative, organisational, etc.) which could well be transferable to the workplace.

Research and Training

It can also be very worthwhile spending some time researching the area you are planning to work within before you begin to apply for positions. Do you intend to work in the same field as that which you were working in before your career break? If so, then consider how it has changed - Are there new policy developments? Have procedures and equipment changed? If you are moving into a different field, consider which new skills you may need to learn. Armed with this knowledge you should find yourself in a much stronger position. You should find it easier to demonstrate to an employer that you are aware of the current state of play within your field and you will be able to decide whether it is necessary to update some of your skills.

If there have been advances in IT since you were last in the workplace, for example, you could perhaps take a short course to familiarise yourself with the new software packages which you deem to be important for your desired position. You may also find that some recruitment agencies will also be able to assist with training on the main office software packages. Some companies, especially those with bespoke software packages, may also provide in-house IT training to new employees, but you may feel more confident when you re-enter the workplace if you have already familiarised yourself with a variety of software packages.

The Employer's Point of View

It can also be a good idea to try to imagine your situation from your potential employer's point-of-view. Particularly as they will probably want to know why you took a career break. It is usually useful therefore to make sure you have thought carefully about your career, your reasons for having taken time out and, probably more importantly, your reasons for wanting to re-enter the workplace and your career ambitions for the future. Don't forget that your period away from the workplace may also have given you skills and experiences which employees who have stayed continuously in the workplace may not have - and which might just be the very attributes your potential employer is looking for!

Selling Your Skills

If you have decided to take the plunge to re-enter the work place, you need to make sure that your CV and application forms are as effective as they can be in communicating your skills and experience to potential employers.