Restarting A Career After An Extended Break

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Smiling businesswomanJob-hunting is a difficult endeavor. Doing so after being out of the game for a while can prove even more challenging. The good news is that there is a big difference between hard and impossible. Like most things, technique and attitude can go a long way toward ensuring success. To increase your chances of successfully reentering the job market, following these five guidelines.

  1. Don’t Apologize:Job seekers sometimes unwittingly draw attention to what they perceive as a negative during interviews. If you’ve had a solid career prior to taking time off, discuss your successes, be up front about the gap, and then pivot naturally to what you could offer the new employer.   
  2. Craft Your Storyline: Most employers (the ones you’d want to work for anyway) understand people have lives. Seasoned recruiters and hiring managers will be less concerned that you’ve taken time off if you have a solid rationale for during so. Turn the perceived negative into a showcase of a transferable competency e.g. planning. If the move came in reaction to a family emergency or corporate downsizing, this gives you an opportunity to discuss how you overcame a challenge, displayed flexibility, leveraged creativity, and so on.   
  3. Plan Your Reentry: While it might be tempting to blanket the market with resumes and interview everywhere you can, take a few warm up swings by going on informational interviews. Snagging 20 minutes with potential employers or mentors to discuss their job and how they got there will provide insight as to your next move and how you stack up against the competition.
  4. Highlight Relevant Accomplishments: Many people don’t give themselves enough credit for work performed outside the corporate setting. If you’ve done any volunteer work, earned a certification, or updated your skills during the gap, ensure those items make it to your resume. 
  5. Adjust Resume Strategies: Most resumes have a chronological format that is they feature employment history from most recent to first. If you have a gap, try using a functional resume template, which is built around skill sets and accomplishments. This is key as resumes get you interviews. 

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