7 ways to return to work

28 Mar 2018

7 ways to return to workAre you looking to get back to work after a long career break? It can be quite a hurdle and, of course, it’s more difficult the longer your break has been. But fret not - there are many ways to tackle the challenge in front of you! Here are seven key jumping off points:

1. Get in touch with your old employers and work colleagues
Perhaps your best chance of all is finding a job through ex-work colleagues who know you well and know your value in the workplace. So get back in touch with them – even if they’ve moved on to a new company. And don’t just go back to people at your last job – try all ex-employers who will still remember you.

2. Talk to friends and colleagues
The same goes for your personal networks. Tell everyone that you are looking to start work again, and the sort of role you are looking for. They may know of vacancies, or be able to put you in touch with useful contacts at companies. A personal introduction always means you get noticed by a prospective employer – it’s far more likely to result in success than applying for an advertised job.

3. Join a returner programme
These days, companies are increasingly worried about gender equality, and many of the larger ones have started to run returner programmes. These are paid programmes, typically lasting for a few months, that aim to support women back into the workplace after maternity (although most programmes are also open to men who have taken a career break). You will find some opportunities on Timewise Jobs, and you could also take a look at the Women Returners website.

4. Track down flexible, inclusive employers
Staying with the gender equality theme, many companies are concerned to create diverse workplaces. You may be more likely to find a sympathetic ear when applying for jobs at these companies – look out for how they promote their inclusive approach on their websites. All employers who advertise on Timewise Jobs tend to be flexible employers. You could also do some research on Glassdoor.   

5. Do some voluntary work or work experience
The longer your break has been, the greater your need to build up your confidence and brush up your skills. A great way to do this is via some voluntary work for a charity, or a few weeks’ work experience in a role that’s relevant to the kind of job you’re seeking. Write on spec to relevant companies, using contacts to introduce you wherever possible. You could also research to find adult internships.  

6. Apply for interim roles
Taking on an interim role such as a maternity cover can also be a good way to test the water of going back to work. It will give you some recent experience on your CV, and these roles can sometimes be easier to get than a permanent role.

7. Consider a new career direction
Finally, ‘after a career break’ is a terrific opportunity to have a complete re-think. Would you like to try something different? Perhaps even re-train for a new career?  A good place to start is the National Careers Service, which has 800 job profiles to help you consider your options, as well as online skills tests and a directory of training courses.

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