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Career Advice

Top tips to improve your employability after a long term career break

Top tips to improve your employability after a long term career break…

There are a multitude of reasons why a long term career-break may occur….From Maternity and motherhood; to men, taking time out to become ‘daddy day care’; to redundancy and job loss, to a loss of confidence or long-term disability; to a once-in-a-life-time trip around the World that turns into a few years of heavenly peace,  career breaks can be both for the good and the bad…

However as the insecurity of the job market and the global economic instability continues, the concerns that face those on a long-term career break, must be more worrying than perhaps at any time in the past. It is no longer even a ‘cert’ to be able to even step in to a short-term job, or walk into a call centre, where staff turnover  was always high. With this in mind, please see some tailored top tips below that might help you improve your employability after a long term career break…

1. Get free tests – most recruitment agencies want to test you on your computer skills and how competent you are at specific packages. Some will even offer computer based training to refresh yourself on the packages you used in the past. If you have a past in office administration or need competent computer skills – why not put yourself to the test and also register with a few agencies at the same time.

2. Start spreading the news – If you left an old employer on good terms and you were good at your job, you might still be surprised to find that you can create a job for yourself by just telling your old employers you are back on the look. Why bother having to completely train and new person, when there is a tailored made solutions waiting in the wings! However just as importantly some of your old friends, colleagues and Managers will now work elsewhere…Again if you had a good working relationship with people you used to work with there may be some credit in making contact again.

3. Which leads us onto – Social Network – Forgive me if I am sucking eggs here but the way you search and find employment has changed and continues to change. Finding old Managers and colleagues used to be hard, now if you use the likes of Linkedin, it is hard not to find old staff colleagues, clients, and business acquaintances. Don’t get me wrong, not all the contacts you make via Linkedin will be able to help, but the more people who know you are back on the job-hunt the better, especially if one of them is able to help.

4. Skill Shortages. Even in recession there are certain positions that employers and recruiters find it hard to fill. As you have been out the market for a good while, don’t assume that your skills are not valuable – in fact they may be more valuable than when you last worked!! Ask a recruitment agency to take a look at your CV – if you do have ‘wanted’ skills, they will most certainly be keen to tell you!

5. Ask the jobcentre / careers services what they can offer. If you are entitled to training or courses, find out the courses they offer that may lead to a job. No offence, but if the course is ‘telephone skills training’ it might be just a tick box exercise, but if it is specialist course to learn about renewable energy perhaps consider it! If there is a course for an abstract subject – the chances are there is a job that needs it, and if you have the certificate, you become more shortlist-able immediately!

6. Consider making your own job – The last few years will have taught you many a thing and you may have picked up a hobby, past time or interest that has been shaped by you career break itself. One thing that is for sure, is that unless you happen to be very wealthy, you and your extended family will have had to watch your purse stings for quite some time. Therefore the mentality, you can’t spend what you don’t earn, might come in quite handy if you fancy starting your own business, as naturally you don’t earn too much in the early stages of a business startup.

7. Re learn the language. Yes, learning an actual language would also be good – but what I am hinting at here is start thinking like a worker. Get into the right might set and relearn how to act and speak the part.

8. Because you take a career break, it doesn’t mean you take a life break.
Whatever reason you are not working, the chances are you have done good things; be it bring up a family, travel the World, undertaken voluntary work, taken up a new hobby etc… It’s not for us to judge, but the experiences you have out of work, are just as valuable – so make a list and highlight these skills and experiences on your new and updated CV!


That is just a few suggestions on how to improve your employabilty that might help you on your way. If you have any suggestions what else could be included on the list, please do comment below.

Need more help on how to Search and Apply for Jobs – you might want to check out TheEmployable ebook.


4 Responses to “Top tips to improve your employability after a long term career break”

  1. I would add another tip: volunteer. If your break is longer than a few months, listing work-related activities on your CV will aid your cause. Many volunteer positions require specific skills — if you use them you will be recognised as a doer. You may even be able to supply a reference for your volunteer work. References aren’t normally listed on CVs, but employers read them if they’re placed on your LinkedIn page.

    Posted by Robin McKay Bell | February 28, 2012, 2:10 pm


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