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People take career breaks for various reasons. Some take a step back from work to start a family, take time out after redundancy or temporary retirement, or enjoy different experiences, like traveling the world? Some take time off from work to simply take a rest and rediscover themselves.

Whatever your career break was planned or unplanned or, time may come when you decide to find your way back to the career ladder.

A job search can be daunting enough, but it can be even more challenging when you’re returning to work after a career break. You may feel anxious about getting a new job, or you may feel like your skills have become a little rusty because of how much has changed since you’ve been away from the workplace. Some recruiters and hiring managers will be more considerate about your career break, but others may feel uncertain about hiring you.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or uncertain about getting hired after a career break, here are six effective tips to transition back to the workforce following a career break:

Assess your situation

Don’t’ dive into the first job you can find. If you’re unsure about a job, the interviewer may sense that you’re uncertain and will be unlikely to consider you in the hiring process.

Additionally, if you go with a job that doesn’t suit your skills, you could find yourself frequently job-hopping before finding the right one. It’s therefore essential to take some time to consider what you want, what you’d like to get out of a job, and why you want to work again. You might also find that what suited you before your career break may not be the best fit for you now.

Update your CV

Update your CV
Most people who go on a career break believe that a gap in their CV will be bad for their career. However, rather than considering it as a disadvantage, look at it as an edge that can distinguish you from other candidates. If you have not been working for quite a long time, don’t conceal it. A career break can offer lots of benefits that can make you just as, if not a better candidate, even if it was only a chance for you to take a time out and re-evaluate your career path.

Include all the new skills you may have acquired during your break, and explain how these can relate to the job you’re trying to land. Did you take classes, volunteer, or started a side hustle? Or perhaps did traveling the world give you a much-needed confidence boost? Even if you weren’t working, you might have accomplished something worthy to mention during interviews or add to your resume.

Your CV should reflect your confidence, too, so update your CV to make sure it conveys the confidence you want to get across. Use current industry jargon and emphasize any previous skillsets you got from your last job before your break that are still in demand.

Take a look at the job qualifications in job listing sites to get an idea of the skillsets that employers are looking for today and how those qualifications align with your past jobs. Then, rewrite your CV accordingly.

It’s also essential to rethink the format of your CV. While you don’t want to hide your career gap, you do not want to highlight it. To do so, choose a non-chronological format for your CV that will present your experience in ways that highlight your credentials without emphasizing the timeline.


When you start looking for your first job following a career break, don’t forget to utilize your existing connections. Make some time to reach out to your former colleagues, clients, friends, and family and let them know that you’re returning to the workforce.

Even if they cannot give you the job that you need, they can point you in the right direction and update you on the latest industry outlook. Ask them for advice and tips on getting back into the workforce. This is also an excellent opportunity to prepare potential references who could support your new job applications.

Prepare for your interview

Before attending your first interview, make sure you’re ready to discuss your career break. There’s a high chance you will be asked why you have a career gap and what you did during your break. Be honest and keep your explanation brief, no matter what the reason is for your career break. Briefly and concisely explain what you did during your break and why you decided it was the right decision to make.

You could tailor your answers to show how your career break will benefit the role you are trying to land. Anticipate some of the concerns an interviewer may have, such as whether you’re ready to jump back into the career ladder. In this case, briefly explain why you decided to return to the workforce, with an emphasis on your passion, drive, and focus.

Update Your wardrobe

Update Your wardrobe
In real life, appearance does matter. According to research, hiring managers still consider a job candidate’s race, gender, age, and physical appearance when hiring for a job position.

Make sure you dress professionally and up-to-date when you show up for your interview. It also shows you’re seriously interested in the job interview. Invest in a wardrobe that fits well and makes you look smart and credible. You’ll also feel more confident, which will come across during your interview.

Be confident

No matter how long you’ve been away from work, getting back into the job search process can be nerve-racking. The most important thing is that you remain confident in your skills and abilities. If you don’t have the confidence, you will undervalue what you can offer a prospective employer.

Create a list of your skills and strengths and refer to this during your job search to help boost your energy and self-esteem. If you’re unsure what to write on the list, ask your closest friends and family about what they think your strengths are. You may be surprised at the answers they give you.

If you think your skills are not up-to-date, take a refresher course, and do your research. Browse the company’s website and social media accounts. It would help if you also looked at their competitors, stay updated on the latest industry news, and research industry trends. If you have all the information you need, you will feel much more confident, especially during interviews.

Everyone has their own career path

Everyone has their own career path

Taking a career break is not an unusual thing, despite the stigma that is sometimes attached to it. Everyone’s career ladders differ, and each climb at their own pace, depending on their goals.

So, if you’re feeling apprehensive about jumping back into the workforce after a career break, keep these tips in mind so you stay on the right path with the right attitude and mindset.

Consider getting professional career planning, coaching, and representation services from Watkins and Associates to ensure that you successfully land the job that you want after a career break. We are an executive search firm based in Houston, Texas, with a proven track record of placing high-quality professionals in multiple disciplines. We can help you with everything you need to prepare for the transition back to the corporate ladder. Call us today at 713.334.4342 or send us an email at [email protected] for assistance.