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Tips for Returning to Work After a Career Break

Whether your career break was planned or unplanned, returning to the workforce after an extended period can be challenging. With time away from employment, your skills and your resume may need an update. It may be hard to feel confident and qualified, too.
Here’s how Blackstone Career Institute’s online certificate courses can help jump start your career and get you on the path of landing a successful job.

Assess Your Wants & Needs

Before diving right into searching on job posting websites, take time to consider the career path you want. Do you want to return to a similar position you previously held or enter into a brand new field? Consider what you’d like to do, and why you’re interested in working again. Create goals for yourself and steps in order to reach those goals. Keep your needs in mind, too, whether it’s salary requirements, flexible hours, or anything else.
Take the time to reflect on your career break. Did you learn a new skill, volunteer, or receive certification in a career course? With Blackstone Career Institute’s online certificate programs, you will be able to sharpen your skill-set. Give yourself an advantage in today’s competitive job market. Even if you weren’t actively working, you may have noteworthy accomplishments to mention during interviews or attributes to add to your resume. Lastly, what job qualities are you not willing to change or adjust? For example: salary, location, scheduled hours, benefits, etc.

Re-Learn Your Industry and Network

Depending on how long it has been since you last applied for a new job, you may need to familiarize yourself with the industry and new job opportunities. Some possible steps to take:
  • Research the industry: Spend some time on the Occupational Outlook Handbook, researching your chosen career field. You may be particularly interested to find out the salary range for roles that are of interest to you or the predicted demand and field growth.
  • Network: Reach out to former colleagues to let them know you’re returning to the workforce. Not only can you get potential job leads, but these contacts may also be able to update you on the industry outlook. Ask your connections for advice and tips on getting back into the workforce. LinkedIn is a popular networking site specifically for career-seekers as well. It is a great place to start if you are looking to network with new people and companies.
  • Attend conferences & informal interviews: Some employers suggest applying for jobs you are likely to get an interview for, whether you have interest in the job or not. Creating mock interviews, or practicing interviews in a situation where there is no pressure, is helpful to preparing for a “real deal” interview. Conferences can also help you get up to speed, as well as being an opportunity to expand your network. Even participating in a LinkedIn Group related to the industry your interested in can assist you in making connections.

Freshen Your Skills

In a technology-driven world, things are constantly changing this includes job markets. New programs have been developed or implemented. Before submitting your resume, here are a few ideas to give you the confidence you need to prepare for a new job.
  • Volunteer work: Even if it’s unrelated to your field, volunteering on a regular basis can get you accustomed to a structured environment, which employers like to see. This is why volunteer experience is recommended to include on a resume.
  • Classes: If there are new products, programs, or credentials needed that you aren’t familiar with, it may make sense to take one of Blackstone’s online courses with certificates. Our short, online courses keep YOU in mind by providing convenience and affordability. For example, our Paralegal Certificate  is designed to teach paralegals the ins and outs of computer-assisted legal research. This is extremely important as the vast majority of legal research is now done online. Candidates unable to effectively use online research tools such as LexisAdvance® will struggle to find employment as a paralegal.
  • Newsletters, podcasts, etc.: In certain careers, you may not need new skills. Some fields do not change as quickly as others. It may be as simple as catching up on how the industry works by attending conferences, reading daily industry news, listening to podcasts, subscribing to newsletters, etc.

Update Your Resume

As you update your resume, keep in mind the requirements and expectations for a resume also may have changed. For instance, anything older than 15 years is considered “outdated.” For more details on today’s resume “do’s and don’ts,” read this article.

Explaining A Career Break

If you’ve had a long break, you should mention that in your cover letter, as well as during interviews. No matter what your reason for your extended leave from the workforce, keep your explanation brief. A simple sentence will do and honesty is the best policy. Whatever your reason for being away, focus on the work you did prior to your time away. Your work experience remains relevant, even if some time has passed since you gained that experience.

Contact Blackstone Career Institute:

Give us a call today at 800-826-9228. We’re happy to help get you on track for your upcoming career choice. Our dedicated student services team is here to answer all your inquiries about any of our accredited online courses with certificates. Need assistance with the enrollment process? Call 800-826-9228 and hit Number 1 to reach our Admissions Office.

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