Taking a career break has become somewhat common in recent years. However, if the time has come to go back to work, we have compiled a few top tips when applying for a job after a career break.

Job Application Tips After a Career Break

No matter how long your career break was, the thought of returning to work can be daunting. That said, it’s like tearing off a plaster; the quicker you get back into the swing of things, the better. It’s all about taking that first step.

Know Where You Stand

Oftentimes, people are worried they may have ruined their careers by taking a hiatus. In reality, career breaks are extremely common. Around 90,000 people start a career break each year in the UK.

So much so that most companies have specific policies in place for staff who wish to take a career break or sabbatical. So, if you’re returning to the same employer, you can rest assured that your job will be safe and you can pick up where you left off (some on-the-job retraining may be necessary).

On the other hand, if you took a career break and are now applying for a job with a new employer, the situation might be slightly different. The prospective employer will likely have similar policies in place so they’ll understand the situation you’re in. However, you won’t have any agreed-upon conditions with them regarding your return to work. The key is to be able to explain the reasons behind your decision to take a career break from your previous job. More on that later.

Be Sure of Your Next Steps

Employers know when someone isn’t fully interested in the role they are applying for. So, be sure that this is the right time for your return and that you are suited to the role. If you left because you didn’t enjoy your career, it wouldn’t be a good idea to return to it.

However, perhaps you took a career break in order to achieve something in particular. Maybe you wanted to spend time with your children while they were young or retrain for a degree in higher education. In instances like these, applying for a job after a career break can be positive. Following your life aspirations and achieving them shows drive and tenacity. These traits are highly sought-after by the majority of employers across a variety of sectors.

As such, showing that you’re certain that a return to work is right for you could be a major positive for your application and your chances of entering your dream career.

Explain Your Reasons

As we mentioned earlier, it’s of vital importance that you’re able to explain the reasons behind your career break. It’s understandable that a large career gap on your CV can seem daunting. However, don’t shy away from it. Embrace it.

Employers are human and understand that there are other things in life that need addressing. Having the confidence to take that step could give you more credit than other candidates.

You can take for granted that prospective employers will ask about your career break. After all, wouldn’t you? This doesn’t necessarily mean that they see it as a negative, but it could be construed that way if you can’t explain your reasons. So, take the time to prepare an answer.

What Did You Learn?

Your explanation as to why you took a career break should be clear. You should be able to articulate how the skills you developed relate to your new job. For example, looking after children demands high levels of multitasking, management skills and negotiation skills. If you took a career break to work on your mental health, it shows a drive for self-improvement and strong initiative.

In summary, you must focus on the skills and experiences you acquired during the career break that you may not have gotten had you stayed in work.

Finding Work After a Career Break

For help finding employment after a career break or sabbatical, we’ve created a number of guides to help get you back on your feet.

First of all, when you’re applying for a job after a career break, be sure to check out our career change jobs board for the latest job postings in your area. For external advice, funding or training see our support and resources page. See our job application tips for guidance on today’s job market and what employers are looking for. And, if you haven’t written an application in some time, get help with our CV writing tips.

Feel free to contact our team if you have any questions. And finally, stay up-to-date with all the latest from Refreshing a Career by signing up for our newsletter using the form below.