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Tips to return to work after a career break

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At one point in the near or distant past, you might have embarked on a career break from which you are yet to return.

Perhaps, like this mother-of-two writing for The Guardian, you left a post in London’s thriving financial hub to free up more time to spend with your family.

However, the mother herself, Deirdre Critchley, later successfully returned to work – and so can you. Here are tips for helping yourself to end a career break that might have lasted for years.

Educate yourself about the legal implications

You might have initiated your career break on the understanding that you would eventually return to your usual job. However, you would need to have arranged this with your employer, as no UK laws specifically pertain to taking career breaks, according to the UK Government website.

Even if you do strike an agreement, it would not be legally binding. You wouldn’t be entitled to take legal action if your employer subsequently decides against accepting you back at their workplace.

Rediscover your former belief in your professional self

As you can now see, even if you started what was meant to be just a temporary break, your employer could decide to tear up your contract. This could knock your confidence, but you could get it back again by taking close account of your strength and skills, per The Telegraph advice.

Friends and family could tell you what you are good at, citing examples of how you have proven this. Over time, your old, work-minded self could start to re-emerge.

Prepare networking that could start with friends and family

While networking can lead you to secure a job, what would you tell valuable contacts about yourself? You can decide that by noting your work and education history from before the break, for which you could also provide a brief explanation – but avoid apologies or justifications.

However, what chapter would you like to add next to your story, to use a suitable metaphorical phrase? If you can settle on a definite answer, you could impart this to friends and family.

Start reassembling your professional profile

If the word “profile” makes you think of the career-oriented social networking site LinkedIn, you are certainly looking in the right direction. It’s free and easy to create a LinkedIn profile and polish it up.

On the site, you could even come across and “connect” – the LinkedIn equivalent of making Facebook “friends” – with people you used to work alongside. Setting up a Twitter page could also be beneficial, as it would enable you to follow potential employers on this micro-blogging portal.

Update and refresh your work experience

As your career break might have left various glaring gaps in your CV, you could help plug them by seeking relevant work experience – like freelance or temporary work or skilled volunteering.

Doing this could assist you in tailoring applications for specific jobs. Applying for sales jobs, for example, could bear more fruit if you have experience in that particular field.

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