In the fast-paced cut-throat competition-laced work environment of today, taking a break from one’s career is not something unnatural. Rather, it is quite common. The reasons can be far varied and many – be it motherhood, family reasons, ill health, education, travel or pursuing a lifelong dream, people often take a sabbatical.
However, such a break is still not very well accepted by employers. The trick is to write a CV in such a manner that the employer looks past your break and hires you for who you are and the skill sets you possess.
To ensure a smooth transition back to work life, here are some tips on how to specifically write a resume and what to include in it, once you are back from your break and looking to find a job.
Anticipate what you are getting into
Times are changing, and fast. Even if you were on a break for a short period of time, the market might have undergone a sea change and the skills earlier required for your job position could have changed, too. The best way to achieve success is to do your research about your preferred jobs and find out what kind of skill sets they require. This would also help you familiarize yourself with market dynamics. You could also consider a bit of upskilling or training to bag that ideal job.
Once you have identified what lies ahead, you can start exploring and weighing the options. Connect and network with people in the industry, create a profile on job sites such as Linkedin.com, join a professional association. By educating yourself, you will pick up industry jargon and fad words which you can then put into your CV.
Accept your sabbatical
Don’t hide your sabbatical. Having unclarified gaps in your CV will make the recruiter question your entire job application. Address the career gap concisely and do not make it up or hide it. You don’t need to get into too much detail. Just write a short title that explains your break, for eg, Motherhood, International Travel, Family Care, Professional and Personal Development, MBA, Medical reasons, etc.
It is also an important opportunity for you to showcase what you have done during your absence. You can put down things like: attended workshops or training related to your industry, undergone training in a new technology, attended seminars, meetings or workshops related to your industry, etc.
Introspect and Leverage
During career breaks, people often develop new skills that add to their existing skill sets. Some also use this time to get a higher education degree. This helps. Think about what new skill you have picked up that you can add to your resume to make it stronger. Maybe you have volunteered for something, worked as a freelancer or a consultant, contributed to an agency or even traveled to the country where your prospective employer’s head office is located.
At the end of the day, a resume is primarily a sales document; therefore, highlight everything that will sell you at your best. Whenever you get confused as to what to put in the CV, ask yourself, “Is this selling me?” Assess the quality of your CV and only include those qualities which are selling you in a positive light.
A career break will stay with you for your entire life span so make sure you highlight all your achievements and outcomes that you have achieved before your break as well.
Keep Moving Ahead
If you are going for an interview after your break period, prepare yourself well for questions that will be asked on your career and the break that you have taken. Also, highlight how that particular experience will support you as you move forward. An interview is the best instance when you can highlight how you are perfectly ready to take on new challenges. Be frank about your break and why you are ready to return to work. Be completely open and honest about your break. Focus on how the skills and attributes you developed during your break will make you a stand-out applicant.
So, the emphasis should be to get creative and not hide that gap. Instead showcase what that gap did for you and what you bring to the table as a highly-valued, high-touch, highly qualified and experienced employee.
These are different, unique, and gentle (yet hard-hitting) ways to get an employer/company to sit up and take notice of the person that the document represents.