Whether you are coming back to work after travel, doing voluntary work abroad, studying, having a baby or spending a winter season in the mountains, here’s how to get that first job back.
1 Increase your Self Belief - Remind yourself of what you are good at
People coming back to work after a gap can often underestimate what they have to offer. Be clear on your strong points and skills to build your confidence and give you energy for your job search. Ask family and friends for feedback on what your strengths are, and include examples. Also, write down at least six achievements and the skills you demonstrated there. Upgrade your knowledge and skills by taking refresher courses if you need to, read up on the latest industry issues and follow potential employers on social media.
2 Make sure your CV looks great and Linked in too
This is hugely important, your CV and linked in page are your marketing tools. You need to be showing your skillset and the value that you have to offer to a potential employer. When done well your CV can open doors, and get you the job you want. Not everyone can do it well, get professional help if you need it. A professional can quantify the value of the benefits that you have to offer and often get you a big pay increase in your next role.
3 Structure your Story
Before you start to network and meet people in your chosen industry, it's important to plan what you will say i.e. how you will explain your career history with your career break in the middle. Be prepared to outline your qualifications and work experience pre-break and give a short explanation for the gap. Don’t justify or apologise. Mention voluntary work or study if relevant and the skills, knowledge and experience you gained from your break and explain what you want to do now. Be very clear on what you tell people, the clearer you are about what you want, the easier it is for people to help you.
4 Take Action
The more proactive you are in your job search, the more likely you are to be rewarded with success. Reconnect with your boss/old colleagues at your old firm(s), meet for coffee and see whether there are any opportunities. Then start with telling friends and family what you’re looking for. You never know who might be able to help. Put yourself out there, go to industry events, build relationship, add value, help people and tell people what you are looking for. Also put yourself on as many job sites as possible, upload your CV to sites like Total Jobs and approach relevant agencies. Call five people about your job search every day.
5 Investigate Creative Ways to get Work Experience
Consider interim or temp work, freelance or skilled volunteering. Through your contacts, suggest a short project ‘work placement’ If it’s appropriate, also look at ‘returnships’ This work can fill your CV gap, build your network and your professional confidence - and may even lead to a permanent role.
6 Practice Interview Skills
It‘s very important to come across well in the interview, you need to come across as competent, confident and likeable. Employers want to feel they have reduced the risk when hiring, likewise people always want to hire someone they like, feel comfortable with and get on with. Do some research on your interviewers beforehand if you can, if you know a bit about them it is easier to connect with them and get on with them than going in cold.
7 And least and very importantly, Stay Positive
Staying positive, not only makes the whole process, easier and more fun, but, it also increases your chances of getting that opportunity. We are far more likely to attract a great job when we are giving off a happy, positive vibe than when we are giving off a negative one. Being positive also helps us stay motivated to continue the job search until we are successful.
As Zig Ziglar said ‘Always remember your attitude will determine your altitude’