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How to Get Back into Work after Taking a Career Break

There are many reasons a career break might occur. You could be a victim of corporate downsizing or perhaps your company went out of business. Certainly these two events are not out of the ordinary in the current down economy. Other reasons include maternity leave, divorce, illness, or you must care for a family member who is sick. When you are ready to get your career back on track after a long layoff it can be a daunting experience. However, there are things you can do to prepare for your big return to the workforce which will reduce the associated anxiety.

First, you must rewrite your resume a bit differently than you normally might. It must start with a strong and well defined objective, and showcase past achievements using bullet points. This style makes your resume easy to read and allows you to better sell your skill set to employers. If you are pursuing several career paths at once, you will need a well-written and separate resume for each career you target. Focus on past achievements and offer relevant experience.

Unless it is beyond your control do not remain idle during your career break. Consider taking a course or seminar to increase your skills and knowledge. Volunteer and give back to the community. Add community service and all courses to your resume, because employers love this stuff. This shows prospective employers that you can multi-task and that you are serious about staying current in your field, even when unemployed.

Getting back to work after being away for a long period of time requires you develop and embrace the proper attitude. A mentor can go a long way to preparing and getting into the proper mindset. Mentors can bring you up to speed and keep you abreast of what is happening in your chosen career path, and makes the transition from being unemployed to employed far easier.

One of the biggest mistakes unemployed individuals do is to not stay in contact with their former work colleagues. Drop by the old office from time to time, and network through social media. If your former boss was pleased with your work stay in contact, because you might find yourself getting an interview in another department or perhaps another company. Networking and developing relationships and connections can help you land that next job faster.

We all know the economy is sluggish. This means you might not be able to land the exact job you want. You must be flexible. Consider being a consultant, or working part-time. This gets you into the workplace and gives you the ability to network with professionals, which means you are offered additional career choices. Use part-time endeavours as a launch pad to bigger and better things. Volunteer work is a great way to network with professionals, too, and this could open the employment door in ways you might not have imagined.

There are many reasons for a break in one’s career. Whether it is intentional or circumstances forced you to become unemployed, preparing your comeback makes it less stressful. Stay in contact with former colleagues, do volunteer work, and call your old boss from time to time. Doing so keeps you in the game. Be flexible by considering consultant and part-time work, and network with other professionals every chance you can.

Richard McMunn, is the founder and director of the UK’s leading career website How2become helps people prepare for and pass recruitment process in order to acquire their dream job. The website offers a wide range of books, dvds and courses for those who want to take their preparation to the next stage. You can also connect with How2become on YouTube


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