How to make a triumphant return to the working world after a career break

Considering a career break but worried it might negatively impact your prospects? Whatever your reasons – wanderlust, retraining, care-giving responsibilities, burnout or simply taking time out to rethink what you want to do with your life – it turns out you can have your cake and eat it. Yay!

Read up on how to set yourself up for a triumphant return to work, as recommended by The Wall Street Journal below.

Update your CV and LinkedIn profile with your key achievements, skills and strengths while you’re still employed. It’s much easier to do this while things are fresh in your mind.

Stay in contact with your boss, peers and juniors. Whether simply connecting with them on LinkedIn and posting the odd update, or hooking up from time to time for a coffee, these contacts may turn out to be the source of your next career move. Your juniors of today will become managers and leaders in your absence, so don’t neglect to nurture your relationships with them!

When you’re ready to come back, you need to have a clear idea of what you want to do. Do you want to pick up where you left off, take a side step, or do something completely new? Your answer will determine whether you need to upskill or reskill. Courses and conferences in your chosen field can be a valuable source of new contacts…

Whatever you decide to do next, you’ll need to become an expert in your chosen field. Asking for advice on how to do so is a great excuse to make contact with former colleagues and contacts. Once you’re back on their radar, and they know what you’re working towards, you’ll be front of mind when relevant opportunities come up.

Familiarise yourself with all the new technologies that have become mainstream in your absence. Your future employer needs to know that you can hit the ground running and that you learn quickly. Take free online courses to address the gaps. Highlight them, as well all your new soft skills, on your CV.

You may be too experienced to do an internship, but some forward-looking companies run ‘returnships’ which could offer just the ticket. These programmes offer paid work in a particular role for a specified period of time to returners. If all goes well from both parties’ perspectives, the role will convert into a full-time, permanent one.

The pandemic saw a massive rise in the number of people taking career breaks and this is set to continue. In tandem, companies are focusing on the benefits of welcoming returning workers to the fold, with all their expertise, skills and valuable networks. In this context and armed with the above tips, you can embrace your career break, confident that many opportunities are awaiting you on your return.

Enjoy your career break and, when you turn your mind to returning, please get in touch. With over 30 years’ experience in recruitment and established relationships with 400+ leading companies worldwide, we will find you your next dream job and help you ace your interview. We hope to hear from you soon!