Five things you need to do when returning to work after a career gap

Starting to think about resuming your career after a break? Read five things you need to do when returning to work after a career gap.

Resuming your career after a break can be a daunting prospect. You may feel that your experience and/or skills are out of date, you’ve lost touch with your network, or you’re not as confident as you once were.

And if you haven’t been in the market for a new role for several years, you may not even know where to begin your job hunt.

Five things to do when returning to work after a career gap

To help you feel more confident, and give you practical steps to focus on, recruitment experts have put a list together of five things you need to do when returning to work after a career gap.

1) Reconnect and rebuild your network

If you have been out of the industry you’re looking to get back into for a long while, there’s a good chance some of your colleagues will have moved on into other roles. It’s well worth reconnecting with these colleagues to see if they could open a door to a new opportunity.

Tip: Sprucing up your LinkedIn profile and congratulating old colleagues on new jobs can be a great way to start the conversation. (Find out how to get your LinkedIn profile perfect.)

2) Look for flexible working options

If you want or need flexible working arrangements, make sure you have this discussion as part of the recruitment or return to work process so it can form part of your official employment contract. This way, each person knows where they stand and what rights they have.

Tip: Be confident when asking for flexible working hours and make sure you outline how this will benefit both you and the business as a whole. (Read our top 10 stories on flexible working.)

3) Work on your CV – update your skills

Updating your CV is a great place to start when you’re looking to return to work. If you’ve had a considerable break, then there will be transferable skills that you have acquired during the break.

Read advice on updating your CV:

Tip: Don’t forget to include any volunteering or mentoring work you have completed during your break as this will help you to stand out from the crowd and provide a talking point when you get to the interview stage.

4) Brush up on your industry knowledge

If you work in an extremely technical or fast-paced sector, you may find it challenging to keep up with trends and developments.

Staying abreast of industry topics by reading publications, attending industry networking and conference events, and subscribing to mailing lists can all help when networking and making small talk in an interview. (Read 10 tips to help you get the most out of any networking event.)

Tip: Use social media profiles such as Twitter or LinkedIn to follow and connect with influencers in your sector.

5) Consider a phased return to work

If you feel that working full time immediately would be difficult, then a phased return to work might be a good way to build up to full time hours again. Work placements or volunteering could be one of the ways to feel ready for work as well as building that all important network.

Tip: Consider freelancing or contract work for a while before diving head first into a full time position. (Read our 30-second guide to launching a freelance career.)

Read more practical tips on returning to work

You’ll find more advice on returning to work after a gap in your career in these articles:

Manchester-based Laudale are a a boutique recruitment firm with an exclusive focus on technology and business transformation in the North of England.