Returning to work after a career break? Six tips to help you increase your confidence

Feeling nervous about returning to work after a career break? Here are six tips to help increase your confidence. 

Starting a new job can often be overwhelming. Remembering names, getting used to your commute and adapting to a new office culture can be a challenge – especially if you’re returning to work after a career break.

After months or years away from your professional life, you can feel rusty, out of touch and irrelevant. None of which helps your confidence levels.

However, it often doesn’t take long to get back into the swing of things; to feel like you’re on top of your job, comfortable with your new colleagues and contributing positively to your company.

To help give you a boost, here are six tips to increase your confidence when you’re returning to work after a career break.

1) Prepare to be confident

Taking the time to make a plan and be prepared for any situation that requires you at your most confident is really worthwhile and impactful.

So ensure you plan in advance of any important events. Arrive on time, wear an outfit that makes you feel great, and prepare your material – even if you’re certain you know the subject well.

Whatever it is that best triggers your personal confidence, recognise it and plan and prepare on this basis.

2) Know your stuff

Planning is an important confidence booster, but nothing substitutes for that feeling of really knowing your stuff. So seize every chance to boost your expertise so that you can confidently share your insights, experience and know-how.

If you’ve been out of the workplace for a few years, you may feel a little rusty at first. But by refreshing your knowledge and up-skilling to fill any gaps, you’ll soon feel back in control again, and confident you know your stuff. 

3) Don’t let fear stop you

Of course, no one sets out to fail, but it’s important to recognise failure for what it is – a momentary set back and (crucially!) an experience to learn from – then adapt around.

Keep in mind that some of the best entrepreneurs and corporate leaders have had serious failures and setbacks along the way.

4) Adopt a positive attitude

Positivity is magnetic and can have a profound impact on ourselves and others, so it’s equally important to allow yourself to be drawn to other positive people.

Where possible, identifying a role model who inspires you and encourages you to confront challenges will help you to bridge your confidence gap.

5) Be assertive

Know what you believe in, want to achieve and are prepared to work hard for. This naturally gets easier as your confidence develops, but the more you step forward and raise your hand, the bolder you will feel about that next promotion, start-up or career adventure.

6) Smile

People with confidence tend to smile more, but it’s a learned skill. You can get used to it by adapting your behaviour around the office, greeting others and asking about their day.

Not only will this help you project confidence, you’ll probably find it changes your own attitude and gives you a more positive outlook – something which is highly contagious.

Confidence is reflected, so by appearing confident yourself you’ll find that your team will not only believe in your abilities but will feel more optimistic themselves. Something which is bound to impress senior managers!

Read more tips to help you return to work after a career break

Looking for a job after taking time out to raise your family? You’ll find more advice in these articles:

To find out more about Quest Professional and their ranges of programmes for school leavers and university graduates visit their website.

Photo by Brandi Redd