Took Time Off From Your Career? These Tips May Help You Ace Your Next Job Interview
Some working professionals have had to take time off from their careers to tend to important things in their personal lives. May it be mothers who have to focus on raising their children, those who have to take care of their aging parents, or spouses who need to personally support their sick partner—they may not have any other choice than to go on a career break.
Unfortunately, going back to the field after years off from work may be quite the challenge for most. With tight labor competition and changing technologies, career re-starters may have to convince the recruiters that they still have it. But how?
These 5 tips could help you sell yourself during a job interview for you to kick-start your career comeback.
Be Honest About Your Career Break
You should just be upfront about your need to take the time off from your career and own up to it. It’s not something to be embarrassed about especially if you have a valid reason.
You could disclose the facts about your career break on your cover letter or resume. Mention the reason for your break and the duration, don’t apologize, and follow up with reasons why you are the perfect person for the job.
Determine Applicable Experiences and Transferable Skill You Have Acquired
During your career break, did you engage in volunteer work, take short courses, or do consulting projects? If yes, then these are things you should highlight in your resume.
List them down as separate experiences as these are different from your time off. Also, include a one-line description and your top three engagements for each experience.
Reboot Your Skills and Update Your Knowledge
After years of not being actively working, you can get a bit rusty with how things should be done. If your job involves fast-paced changes in the industry, then going back to work can be harder for you. Although your past work experiences are still considered valuable, these may not be enough to convince a potential employer.
To keep up, first identify which skills need updating or if there are certifications you need to acquire. If you don’t want to spend much on up-skill sessions, there are low-cost—or even free—online classes available on Udemy, Coursera, and YouTube. You can also volunteer for a project that could give you relevant skills or experiences.
Show How Your Experience Can Help the Company
Being a career re-starter, the relations between your experiences and skills before you took a break and the ones you earned during your time off may not be that obvious.
To help you strengthen your story, connect the dots between your prior work and your volunteer projects. Explain how these interconnected skills could benefit your potential employer and help you in doing the job.
Be Realistic, But Don’t Undersell
Having been absent from the work environment for a long time, you have to accept the fact that your value as a potential employee has changed. Therefore, you may want to be realistic and not feel demotivated when you have to start at a lower level than where you were before your career break.
However, there will be a higher chance for you to be able to rise through the ranks quickly as you already have relevant work experience under your belt. Just think of it as a stepping stone to a bright career comeback.
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