Taking a break...
Updated: May 7, 2019
There are a number of very legitimate reasons why you might take a break from work, but when the time comes to get back into the work force, it can often seem difficult to justify breaks in your CV. But have no fear! It isn't a problem if you handle it right.
So how do you do it?
It can be somewhat soul-destroying to suffer a number of rejections, especially if you haven't worked for a while, but that isn't a reason to give up. They are a couple of mistakes people often make.
1. Applying for the wrong jobs.
Whether this means applying for jobs you're overqualified for, or conversely, applying for jobs you are under-qualified for, make sure you punching in the right weight class. This is a problem at any time in your career, but it can be particularly challenging if you haven't had a role for a while. So, be honest with yourself about both your skills and your experience. The more precise your job hunt is, the less likely it is that you will find yourself being pushed aside.
When it comes to being overqualified, it is important not to undersell yourself. Often people feel that the break they have taken voids the skills they have clearly acquired, but this isn't the case. The fact that you've taken time off doesn't necessarily mean that you aren't still as capable as your were when you left last role. And applying to roles that you're overqualified for is both a waste of your time, and likely to deter employers because they will assume you will get bored or won't be challenged.
One important thing to remember is, if you are changing career, make sure you are aware of the transferable skills you have from your previous career. A new start is absolutely possible, you just have to sell yourself correctly.
Temporary contracts are a great way to get back into the workforce. Specifically, if you have an employer that you're interested in working for, taking a short term contract might get your foot in the door and put you in an excellent position to prove yourself and leverage the role you actually want.
And the side benefit of short term contracts? You can boost your CV very quickly, acquire new skills, get the cash flowing, and show that you are absolutely ready to get back into the world of work.
3. Justify the break
It shouldn't specifically be necessary to justify why you took time off, but it is extremely beneficial to have a clear reason why you took the time off. This will show an employer that there was logic behind your decision to step away from the workforce, and that will show them that you are not demotivated, you just made a life choice, which you have every right to do!
4. Polish the CV
Don't assume that the document you sent out a year ago is still alright. It won't be. You will need to update it, and if possible talk about the challenges you might have faced during your career break, or the things you might have learned. Furthermore, you might want to reframe the skills you acquired in the past so they are more suited to the roles you are applying for now. The employment market is constantly evolving and you need to make sure you're up to date with where it is right now, not where it was a year ago. That will show your potential employer that you're clued in and ready to start again.