Many people take a break from their careers for one reason or another. Whether you’ve been taken some time off to spend with family, to focus on other ambitions, to study or to look after your health, returning to the job market can often feel overwhelming. However, when the time comes to meet with an Executive Recruiter, you can take some simple measures to ensure you stand out from the crowd when you re-enter the job market.
It’s important to realise that you are not the first, and will not be the last, executive to take a break from work. In fact, 4% of all employees in Australia have taken a career break of more than six months at some stage in their employment, with the majority of males (47%) doing so for ‘personal reasons’ and the majority of females (73%) citing ‘family reasons’ as the primary reason for taking some time off.
No matter the reason for you taking time off, the important thing is you are ready to get back to working in an executive role and moving your career forward again.
Let’s take a look at a few key areas you need to focus on to ensure that you return to the job market with confidence and set yourself up for a successful future.
Find the Right Executive Position
Before you even begin the interview process, take some time to find an executive position that suits your skill set and one that you will be happy in.
It’s important not to panic and to avoid rushing into the first job opportunity that comes your way. Meeting with an experienced executive recruitment firm or peers in your industry will allow you to get a better understanding of the current employment landscape and what options are available to you. Your old employment contacts may not be as current as before so it’s important to know the lay of the land before you dive in to ensure you find the right position.
Master Your Interview Skills
As an executive, you will have plenty of interview experience to draw on form over the years. However, after a long break, the thought of going back into the hot-seat can be daunting. Give yourself an opportunity to practice your interview skills and ensure that you are at your best before you step foot in the interview room.
In addition to the usual interview questions, be prepared to answer questions about your break, your reasons for taking it and what you accomplished in the time. Remember to be honest, up-front and be sure to focus on the fact that despite your break, you are returning to work because you are driven, passionate and focused.
Update your Resume
Whatever you do, don’t leave any gaps in your resume. To an executive talent recruiter, this is a source of concern and they will definitely ask you about it. You don’t have to be dishonest but be sure that you can account for your time in a positive and meaningful way.
Perhaps you did some work with a local charity, did some freelancing or consultancy work during your time off? If so, be sure to include this in your resume as it shows that you are a driven individual. If you’ve been working for a long-time in an executive position prior to your employment break, highlight that fact. Executive Recruiters will understand the need for re-evaluation after a long time in a top-level position.
Return to the Job Market in Confidence
Taking a break from your career isn’t a negative thing and should not be interpreted as such. Take some time to evaluate the current situation, fine-tune your interview skills and ensure you have updated your resume to give the best impression of yourself while maintaining your honesty and integrity.
Specialist recruiters who truly understand the job market and what you can offer will not let a break get in the way of hiring you. In fact, they might even see it as a positive because you will be rested, motivated and eager to get started in your new executive role.