There are a number of reasons why a person may take a break in their career — lifestyle changes such as caring for children or relatives, dealing with an illness or burnout, attaining a higher degree and taking an early retirement are among the many personal and professional decisions one may have had to consider. Add to that the global pandemic, in which millions lost their jobs and still others chose not to return because of health and safety concerns, and you have any number of people who were sidelined from their careers but are now looking to make a comeback.
Whatever the reason for leaving, re-entering the workforce can be challenging, but it can be accomplished. And, more and more professionals are doing just that. Because more of us are choosing nonlinear career paths, the stigma of resume gaps is receding. Last year, LinkedIn even added a feature in which users can spotlight career breaks on their profiles, allowing them to highlight skills learned and life experiences had during a work pause.
The Many Roads to Return
Many employers are now offering returnships — essentially full-time paid internships for employees who have been out of the workforce for some time and are looking to restart their careers. Some of the country’s largest companies, including Accenture, Amazon, Goldman Sachs and Microsoft offer these employment opportunities, often to fill skills gaps within their workforce or to cast a wider recruitment net amidst today’s talent wars.
Considering candidates who may have taken a career break (such as women and older workers, both of whom were disproportionately affected by pandemic-related job loss) allows organizations to deepen their talent pools — a crucial component of successful hiring strategies during our country’s current labor supply vs. demand dilemma.
Employers also recognize that a more diverse workforce and a more inclusive workplace is more productive, innovative, and successful. Research has found that companies with racial and ethnic diversity are 36% more likely to outperform their peers, while 73% of businesses that employ gender equality practices report increased profitability and productivity.
Top 5 Tips for Making Your Career Comeback
- Think outside the box. Now is the exact right time to consider all of your job options. Did you take courses or do volunteer work during your work absence that could lead to a brand new career? Give yourself the time for self-reflection to determine this next chapter; your career pathway might take an exciting turn as a result.
- Focus on transferable skills. In this era of skills-based hiring, in which employers center their recruitment decisions on what a potential employee brings to the organization rather than degrees or past titles, job seekers can apply their abilities to a larger number of opportunities.
- Carefully craft your career narrative. What is the throughline that has run through your work experience? Are you an empathetic leader? A team player who motivates and inspires others? A data-driven specialist? Highlighting these skills and capabilities throughout all of your job roles shows consistency and builds trust.
- Play up your unique life experiences. Your personal story matters to your professional potential. Don’t be afraid to share your past experiences, such as caring for a loved one or pursuing a passion during your time off.
- Demonstrate that you’re able to do the job and that you’re happy to be there. The bottom line: Employers are looking for professionals who can catch on quickly and who are genuinely excited about the opportunity.
You Don’t Have to Go it Alone
Returning to the workforce after an absence can seem daunting. You may feel unsure of where to start, especially if your career break has been extended or you’re interested in another field altogether. That’s where an experienced career consultant can make all the difference.
Partnering with 20/20 Foresight Executive Marketing & Job Finding means you’ll have a dedicated career consulting team on your side every step of your return. During a comprehensive one-on-one process, we’ll develop your own personal branding campaign, refine your resume, define your online presence, and expertly coach your interviewing skills with plenty of practice so that you feel your most confident and able to put your career back on course.