Job Search: Getting Your Dream Job After a Long Career Break

Job Search: Getting Your Dream Job After a Long Career Break was originally published on Ivy Exec.

Many people take long career breaks to care for loved ones or reset their mental health. Others do it to travel, volunteer in underprivileged communities, or enroll in full-time studies.

Getting back on the job market can be stressful after a long break. You might worry that some of your skills are obsolete and no employer will want to hire you. Besides, you may feel anxious about explaining a resume gap to potential employers during interviews.

Regardless of how long your break was, you can still jumpstart your career and bag your dream job. With the strategies we’ll discuss, you will have a competitive edge and prove your value to employers.


☁ Understand the Current Job Market

Industries are evolving continually, so you should research if you want to return to the same sector you were in before taking a career break. Learn about the developments in your field for at least the last five years. These may relate to trends in the workplace, new technology, or even industry practices.

Familiarize yourself with the new developments and, if possible, get someone in the industry to guide you. You can also take a refresher course to prove to recruiters that you are up for the job.

Another way to understand the job market is by learning more about your field online. Which companies or experts are getting recognized for their achievements? What tactic do they use to stay ahead of their competitors? Which steps do you need to take to get to their level? Answering such questions can help you develop a game plan for getting your dream job.

Reviewing job ads allows you to identify the type of candidates employers are currently looking for. You can then assess your capability and upskill to boost your confidence and the odds of getting a job.

Some companies have return-to-work programs to assist people who take career breaks. These schemes offer mentorship and train employees so that they easily transition back into the workforce.

Apply for jobs in companies offering return-to-work training. Here, you can improve your skills to gain a competitive advantage with your peers when trying out for your dream job.


☁ Expand Your Professional Network

Losing touch with people in your professional network after a career break is common. However, their connection and knowledge will be helpful as you plan to reenter the workforce.

Reach out to your former colleagues and let them know you plan to return to work. Inform them about the kind of job you’re looking for and tell them about any new skills you have gained over the years. You can also send them your resume and request them to vouch for you if a good opportunity arises.

Another way to build and maximize your network is by participating in workshops. Follow industry leaders on social media and determine when they are hosting events so you can be there. You should also attend career talks and join professional associations.

Informal events also present an excellent chance to network and rebuild your career after a break. Is your former colleague hosting a party with their workmates? Is someone from your network having a wedding or a happy hour gathering?

Attend such events to reconnect with other professionals and learn about job opportunities. Don’t shy away from interacting with new people because they may provide insights for getting your dream job.

Other ways networking will help you after a long career break include:

  • It builds your reputation
  • It raises your profile in the industry
  • It improves your social skills
  • It helps you learn valuable industry insights

☁ Update Your Resume

Are you applying for jobs after a long career break without getting any response? Are recruiters rejecting you even without inviting you for an interview? Are you also applying for roles you’re overqualified for, but no one is giving you a chance?

If you are facing such problems, your resume might be selling you short, hurting your chances of bouncing back. Revising it will make you more noticeable to potential employers in many ways.

For example, if you include keywords from job descriptions, talent acquisition tools are more likely to pick your resume. Besides, you can capture the attention of recruiters by highlighting your main career achievements.

When updating your resume, keep it short, and don’t be tempted to hide your career break. Instead, reduce it by including any volunteer work you did during the period. It’s also crucial to use a format that is easy to scan since many recruiters skim over resumes.

If you have gained a new skill during your break, ensure your resume reflects that. You should also update your references by including people who will vouch for you.


☁ Keep an Open Mind

Did you have a great job before taking a break, and you’re tempted to apply for similar roles only? While it’s not wrong to focus on positions you’re familiar with, you may miss out on great opportunities. Stay open-minded by seeking positions in different fields, provided you have the needed skills.

If you get a good job, don’t be afraid to grab it, even with limited experience. The role you might be less confident about may turn out to be your dream job once you get the hang of it. By keeping an open mind, you will not limit yourself, so reentering the workforce will be less stressful.


☁ Prepare for Interviews

You’ve applied for a dream job and gotten an interview, but you’re now anxious. Worrying about meeting with a potential employer is okay, but don’t let it affect your confidence. Prepare by reading the job description and getting a good idea of the kind of candidate needed.

Learn more about your potential employer and the challenges of the role. Be ready for your resume gap to come up during the interview, and prepare good responses. Show the employer you have polished your skills and understand the current workplace.


Bounce Back From a Long Career Break With Confidence

A long career break doesn’t have to hurt the chances of securing your dream role. With a good plan, you can convince employers to hire you and reestablish yourself. Keep up with your peers by updating your skills and compensate for the lost time with additional training. Further, establish your profile by aligning with people who can expand your knowledge and network.

By Ivy Exec
Ivy Exec is your dedicated career development resource.