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Returning to Work after a Break (part 2)

Kate Allen, Managing Director, Allen Associates

In my previous blog, I looked at how daunting it can be heading back into the world of work after taking a break. There are so many valid reasons for taking time out, from poor health, raising a family or caring for a loved one to travelling or even writing a book! However, it’s not always easy to explain extended periods of absence to a recruitment consultant let alone a prospective employer. Here, in my latest blog, I share my thoughts on how best to position a career break in your CV and during an interview.

Work your CV
As with your social media profile, it will look odd if you don't include some information about what you got up to during your career break if it was for a significant amount of time. Include a 'relevant experience' section and list anything that might be seen as a desirable characteristic by a future employer, such as voluntary work.

The experience and skills you gained before the break are important too, so make sure you really emphasise your achievements, regardless of when they took place. Here is some more advice on creating a great CV.

The interview
This is your opportunity to convince your interviewers that despite having a break, you are now ready to make a lasting commitment to work again. Explain why you had the break, but be succinct. Gaps only become a problem if they aren't explained. Instead talk about any new skills you learnt, your previous work experience and why you now want to come back.

If you are returning to the same career, explain why you can't wait to return to what you love doing. If you are embarking on a new career, show how you are excited about the new challenge. Be clear that you know this is what you want to do, and that you have fully considered the potential issues and challenges.
Research the organisation you are interviewing for and put yourself in the shoes of the employer. Explain what you can bring to the role. You need to prove that you are as clued up as someone who has been doing the job continuously, and that you know all there is to know about the company and the sector they are in.

This will also show that you are serious about the role long term. The most important thing is for you to demonstrate that you are ready, willing and able to do the job. Here is some more advice on how to succeed at an interview.

Get help
If you have lost confidence, try using a good recruitment agency. The right recruiter will take the time to understand your situation and needs, get to know you and will give you advice on how to sell yourself through your CV, social media and an interview.

They will know which employers will be an ideal fit for you and will work hard on your behalf to promote you. Plus, if they have a good relationship with their clients, they can sometimes persuade employers to cater to your needs although you may also need to show some flexibility yourself.

Anything is possible!
If you are still not feeling confident then take comfort from my own experience. I set up Allen Associates after a number of years of not working while my children were young. And I’ve never looked back!

If you need some advice, why not speak to one of our friendly recruitment consultants who will spend the time getting to know you so that they can match you up with the right role.

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