Top tips on returning to work after a career break

Returning to work after a break in your career can be a daunting experience. You may have ditched the suit years ago in order to dedicate yourself to bringing up your family. In a flash 10 years may have past and you are faced with the somewhat frightening experience of reviving your career again. But where do you start? You may feel out of touch with the industry you were in, the connections you had, and wavering confidence as to how you can get back into the saddle again. Our legal experts Cognitive Law share their top tips on returning to work.

The good news is these feelings are all completely natural and expected of someone who is in this position. Whatever the career gap, returning to work can be a minefield. You may feel a little rusty in your skills, or your confidence may need a reboot, but the challenges you face can definitely be overcome.

To make life a little easier and as stress free as possible the employment team at Cognitive Law have put together some top tips on how to successfully return to work:

  1. Create the perfect LinkedIn profile – Reconnect with old contacts and ensure all your details are up to date. If you are looking for a new role, make it clear you are in the job market. LinkedIn networking can be a great way to connect and meet with old colleagues and contacts who might just have the perfect opportunity for you.

  1. Be confident in your skills and achievements – Don’t sell yourself short. So often returners undervalue themselves because of the break they’ve taken. Make sure you are clear on your strengths and experience, perhaps even make a list of all the areas of work you covered and responsibilities you had, you’ll be surprised by how many skills and attributes you can bring.  

  1. Be open minded to new opportunities – This might be a good time to explore new avenues, perhaps a new industry or working environment to the one you were in before. It’s a fresh start, so why not look into that role you always fancied but never got around to pursuing.

  1. Invest in yourself – If you’re feeling rusty in a particular area of work you’re keen to pursue, attend a course or do some e-learning. Brushing up on your skills will give you a confidence boost and help prepare you for the interview process. This shows your dedication to the job, and of course employers are always impressed to see someone who’s taken the initiative to invest in their personal career development.

  1. Practice your pitch – This may be a bit embarrassing, but it will help settle your nerves in an interview if you’re confident in talking about yourself and your achievements.

  1. Organise your working schedule – Before applying for roles, work out the hours that are best suited to you. Which days and hours can you realistically commit to? Think about how you may need to arrange childcare or other commitments so you don’t end up to committing to a role that you cannot maintain. You may need to find a role with flexible working opportunities that would suit yours and your family lives. If this is the case feel free to take a look at this article on how to request flexible working.

  1. Check the employment contract - If you’ve been offered a job, double check you understand what you are agreeing to. It’s easy to leap for joy the moment you get that job offer but take some time to read the contract and ensure you’re happy to agree the terms. Check out this article on what to look out for in your employment contract.

  1. Enjoy it! Throw yourself into it and don’t be scared, you might be pleasantly surprised by how much you enjoy looking for new opportunities, meeting new people and having a fresh start.

Cognitive Law has a team of expert employment solicitors who can advise on returning to work from a legal perspective. Please visit their website for more details and do not hesitate to get in touch on 0333 400 4499.