Extended career breaks are more common than you may think. However, if you are the one seeking to return to work after a long break, you may feel like you are the first to face this challenge. The most common concern for candidates planning to re-enter the workforce is that their brand is damaged, and this will limit their opportunities. Be encouraged. You can boost your brand after a career break.
In the midst of a busy job search, you may think you don’t have time for blogging. However, blogging is one of the best ways to bolster your brand. Identify your areas of expertise. It is best to write about subjects related to your target job. You can author your own blog or you can ask a popular blogger if you can contribute as a guest blogger. Research current news in your field and share your analysis in blog entries. List your blog URL in your contact information section at the top of your resume.
Internships & Career Re-entry Programs
College students take advantage of intern programs to gain practical experience, build new skills, and meet valuable contacts in their chosen field. Did you know that professionals at all career stages can apply for intern programs? Additionally, there are many companies that offer re-entry programs specifically targeting professionals returning to work after a long break. These short-term programs are a great way to showcase your talents and strengthen your brand.
You may have taken a break from paid, full-time, professional positions. However, chances are you were not on a break from all types of meaningful experience. Consider your experience with non-profit organizations, schools, civic organizations, and youth organizations. Did you perform tasks and assume leadership roles related to your target career? Showcase this experience on your resume, citing the scope of your responsibilities and accomplishments just as would for paid positions. Featuring these recent accomplishments will make your brand shine.
Certifications & Coursework
If you have been out of the workforce for a while, you may need to update your specialized skills and knowledge. Seek courses offered by industry associations and local colleges to update your skills.
You will also find many courses online. When you complete your courses, add this information to your resume and LinkedIn profile. Current industry knowledge and strong technical skills will fortify your brand as a relevant and valuable professional.
The Bottom Line
In a recent Bullhorn Reach survey, recruiters were asked to name the “single biggest obstacle” for a job searcher. Of the recruiters surveyed, 28% shared that having gaps in one’s work history is the biggest obstacle. The good news is you can leap over this obstacle by adding some additional relevant and strategic work to reach your career goal.
Debra Wheatman, CPRW, CPCC is President of Careers Done Write, a premier career services provider focused on developing highly personalized career roadmaps for senior leaders and executives across all verticals and industries.