Top Tips For Returning To Work After A Career Break
We often tend to glamorize the idea of the grind or working non-stop, which means that many people are reluctant to take a career break. However, there are many valid reasons why this kind of break will be necessary, whether you’re recovering from an illness, caring for your mental health, or fulfilling childcare obligations.
Remember, a career break is exactly that – a break – you can always return when you feel ready to do so.
With that in mind, here are some top tips that you can use to smooth the transition of returning to work after a long break.
Work on your LinkedIn Profile.
If you’re going to be applying for a new role after your career break, it goes without saying that you should edit your CV and resume accordingly. However, you should also ensure that you build a strong LinkedIn Profile, as “60% of companies look at a candidate’s LinkedIn profile before extending a job offer” or inviting them for an interview.
For example, you should ensure that:
Within your resume, you may also want to list the reason why you took a career break. This provides further clarification to employers who may otherwise question a gap in your CV – however, this can also be brought up during the interview. Remember, it’s nothing to be ashamed of, and plenty of people choose to take career breaks.
Recertify or Retrain.
Depending on how long you’ve taken off work, you may need to recertify or retrain in certain areas to ensure you can still work to a high standard. As such, this is a step you should follow before you restart the job hunt in order to put your best foot forward. For example, if you work as an RCFE (Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly) administrator, you may need to complete a rcfe recertification course. After all, this is a necessary step even if you’ve not taken time off, as RCFE administrators must complete these tasks every two years anyway.
Fight Off Imposter Syndrome.
One of the biggest challenges employees face when returning to work after a career break (even as business owners) is imposter syndrome. After all, if you’ve been out of the game for a while, the first few weeks can feel as though you’re playing catch-up to the rest of the team. This, in turn, can lead to feelings of inadequacy as you compare yourself to colleagues who may appear to be more up-to-speed.
However, to make this transition as smooth as possible for all involved, you must work to keep imposter syndrome at bay. Remember, you likely have just as much training and experience as other members of your team – and this knowledge hasn’t gone anywhere during your time off. Furthermore, you would not have been offered the role if they did not think you’d be able to handle it.
- You choose a professional, high-quality picture for your profile.
- You include a short, engaging summary of yourself.
- You include a detailed employment/educational history.
Connect with your colleagues.
Reconnecting with old colleagues or connecting with those that have joined in your absence can also make returning to work a little easier. After all, you’re going to be spending a lot of time together, so working on your relationship will make your day a lot easier and brighter. Furthermore, it also means that you can communicate and collaborate more efficiently as a team.
You can connect with your colleagues when returning to work after a career break in many different ways. For example, it could be something as simple as grabbing a coffee together on your break so that you can chat about work and get to know each other better.
Put together a to-do list.
When returning to work after any period away, many people struggle with time management – at least for the first few weeks. As a result, putting together a daily to-do list ensures that you stay on top of your workload and that you’re spending every minute wisely. In short, it can be a great way to boost your productivity in the workplace and reduce any stress or anxiety you may be dealing with.
When putting together your to-do list, try to start off your days with the tasks you find the most challenging or difficult. This way, you don’t feel as though you’re on as much of a time crunch as you would if you were working on them at the end of the day. Furthermore, we tend to be more productive in the early morning than we are in the latter half of the day because “when your brain is rested, your motivation is high, and you’re less distracted.” Finally, this gives you time to ask for help if needed.
Get enough sleep.
Whether you’re working a 9-5 or less conventional working hours, your sleep routine will likely change now that you’re working once again. As such, it’s important that you ensure you get as much sleep as possible. After all, if you’re overtired, you’ll find it hard to focus at work, meaning you’re more likely to make mistakes or fall behind on targets.
Ideally, you should aim to get between 7-8 hours of sleep a night, which means depending on when your shift starts, you may need to transition to an earlier “bedtime” than you are currently used to. While this may take some getting used to, your body and mind will thank you for it.
Returning to work after a career break can be daunting, no matter what industry you work within or your position within the company itself. However, the above steps can make this transition as easy and smooth as possible so that you can hit the ground running.
We all need a break from time to time, and it’s nothing that you should be ashamed of. Instead, use it as a motivator to push you forward towards new dreams and goals now that you’re back at your desk once again.