Health issues? traveling to new places? pursuing a passion? following a hobby? taking care of the family? maternity break? not being able to find the right job? many such reasons can contribute to a career break.
And sometimes shifting to a new place, the urge to rediscover yourself, desire to spend some time with family, or just the monotony of a job, can result in a career gap.
If you have taken a break from your work and your resume shows an employment gap, you need to read this --
Every year millions of people take a break from their work, and according to Indeed, about 90% of people have been unemployed at some point during their career-- clearly, you are not alone.
The only difference is, some people may have a career gap of 4-6 months, while others may have been out of the industry for years at a stretch.
Now, if you have decided to get back to work and are prepared (at least, mentally) to re-enter the workplace, tighten your seat belt and take a deep breath -- because you may face some challenges. But don't worry! If you handle these challenges with proper strategy, you can overcome them easily.
Even these days, companies are also recognizing career gaps, and even some of them are offering "returnship" programs.
So get ready to return to work after a break with these excellent tips!
Quick navigation of our guide:
Plan your job search and prepare yourself.
The first step is planning!
- Remember, research is your responsibility. So spend some time analyzing how market trends have changed, what are the most in-demand skills in your targeted field or industry and how technologies have evolved in the last few years. This research will improve your credibility as a job candidate and help you stand out from the crowd.
- Do some research online and find out 🔍 what employers are looking for in the candidate. You can use job posting websites such as Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Indeed and read 📖 the job description of your targeted role. You can also check the job websites of your dream companies. For example, if you’re interested in working at Google, you can find job opportunities here.
- If possible, learn tools and software that may help you in your job. You can also do some online courses and earn certification to know what the best practices in your industry are. You can even work on some personal projects using these tools and/or software.
- And the last point is, just go for it! Start your job hunt, and don't be afraid of failures.
Hiring managers may assume that because you were not working for some time, you may not be aware of current market trends, and you may not be able to adjust with young employees. However, if you put some effort at an early stage, you will definitely see the results during the hiring process.
Pro tip: Talk to your old colleagues and managers to know about changes in the industry.
Rewind your career break in your brain.
Think, what have you done in your break?
Some freelancing work?
Took some special classes?
Attended relevant events?
Did Volunteer work?
Any personal project?
Started a personal blog?
Wrote some articles?
Learned new skills?
Read books related to your industry?
Here the aim is to analyze how you have advanced your professional skills during the break. And this will allow hiring managers to recognize that even if you were not in any full-time job, you kept yourself engaged and active by trying different things. Of course, you can also highlight these things in your resume or even talk about them during your job interview.
A good resume can be a game-changer.
The way you address your career gap in your resume has a lot to do with what the hiring manager will think of it. However, putting a career gap in your resume shows that you are not trying to hide anything and you are a trustworthy candidate for an open position.
Follow an intelligent strategy while presenting an employment gap in your resume.
- Use the functional resume format. It is one of the best resume options if you want to focus more on skills and don't want to showcase detailed work history in your resume.
- Include any relevant experience you gained during the break. It includes freelancing, internship, consulting, or any other volunteer work.
- Add certificates, online courses, and projects that you completed during a gap in your resume.
- Explain the career gap in your resume in two to three lines.
- Don't play with dates to cover your career gap, be upfront and honest about it. Hiring managers can easily sense your lie.
- Don't give reasons that are hard to believe in. No matter what, the hiring team will find out the truth in the end.
Well, there is no ideal way to present your career gap in a resume; it mostly depends on your situation and the reason why you were not working for a certain period.
Pro tip: You can take the help of professionals to craft your resume with our professional resume writing service being a great option for getting back into the industry after a career gap. Choose the FAANGPath resume services and get an interview call from your dream company.
Get ready for your interview.
Get ready to face questions on career gaps in the interview. Some examples are:
- Why did you decide to take the break?
- How did you utilize your break?
- Why do you think this is the right time for you to rejoin the workforce?
Prepare yourself to answer these questions and share what you have learned during that time. And you can also use some phrases like:
“I always know I will get back to work or rejoin the industry.“
“Now I am ready more than ever to take on challenges.”
“I am super excited to return to work.”
Here are few tips:
- Be open and transparent about your career gap.
- Keep your explanation brief. Don't try to over-justify it.
- Take help from industry experts.
Nikita Gupta, a technical recruiter at Amazon and founder of FAANGPath, said, on asking her advice for job seekers who want to restart a career after a break:
"Changing your phrase from ''I couldn't find a job'' to, ''I decided to take a break to refocus my career can make your career gap look deliberate rather than desperate."
Social Media is here to help you.
Make use of social media platforms--
- Reach out to your old colleagues, clients, and managers on different social media platforms.
- Create a new professional network on the world's largest professional networking platform-- LinkedIn. Connect with people who are working in the same industry as you. You can even join LinkedIn groups 👥.
- Directly reach out to recruiters on LinkedIn, Clubhouse, or Twitter. Check if they are hiring for roles in your profile.
- Before going to the interview, make sure to check if someone in your network already works there. And have a conversation asking about the company's culture and work policies.
Pro tip: You can even ask your professional network for a job referral.
The idea of starting a job search after a career break may hunt you.
But remember, you should not be apologetic or embarrassed about the break you took to rediscover yourself. And definitely, you are not alone. So many people choose to take a break for one or another reason. And in the end, everyone has a unique career trajectory!
If you have utilized your career break to explore your interests, passions and learn new skills, you can fill the career gap with less effort. Freelancing, Internships, and any part-time work can also be your savior. Your only task is to convince the hiring manager that you improved yourself personally and professionally during the break. And if the company is being too harsh on you for taking a break and too reluctant to hire you because of a career break, you can choose not to work with them. Instead, continue your job search and find a workplace that respects and understands your reasons for taking a career gap.
Be honest. Be confident.
All the best!
FAANGPath is a team of experienced mentors who are committed to helping talented people get hired at FAANG+ companies. Under the dynamic leadership of Nikita Gupta, FAANGPath is empowering job aspirants by providing premium resume reviews, LinkedIn makeovers, 1:1 mentorship, and mock interview services. Talk to FAANPath'sFAANPath's mentor and get all your queries solved.
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