For long, there has been a stigma surrounding career breaks, despite the myriad of reasons to pursue one — including, but not limited to things like, starting a family, focusing on health and well-being, and chasing passions.
It’s time we break the stigma and embrace career breaks for what they are: important parts of our career journey and what makes each one of us unique as a professional.
According to data collected, 64% of people globally say they want more ways to positively represent their career breaks. As for hirers, the conversation is building as well with 44% of hiring managers wanting to know the reason why a candidate took a career break.
Even so, it can still be intimidating to publicly share your career break story while trying to navigate a return to the workforce.
Here are three ways to leverage your career break as an advantage during job search:
1. Highlight your career break on your LinkedIn profile.
- Career breaks are not shameful, nor should they be hidden from your professional story.
- In fact, 51% of hiring managers say they’re more likely to contact an applicant that provided context into their career break.
- Tackle the job search head-on with transparency, honesty, and authenticity.
- You can now add a career break to the experience section of your LinkedIn Profile.
- There are various options to reflect the type of break you took like caregiving, career transition, health and well-being, and more.
- Share about new experiences during your time away from work and highlight skills you gained — look for ways to tie them to roles you’re interested in.
- Be bold and intentional with how impactful your career break was and continues to be.
2. Share your experience and learnings in job interviews.
- It may be difficult to exude confidence when coming back from a career break.
- However, hiring managers believe candidates should proactively bring up their career break during the interview and highlight what they learned during that time.
- When tackling interviews, focus less on your time away and more on how this has helped you grow, learn valuable skills, or helped you discover a new passion.
- Start by connecting the dots between what you did during your career break and what you can bring to a particular role as a result.
- Almost 70% of people say taking a career break helped them gain perspective and figure out what they really want from life.
- Don’t shy away from telling your story and the unique value your experience can bring at work.
3. Network and seek advice from others who took career breaks.
- If you have ever taken a career break, you’re not alone.
- 62% of people have taken a career break at one point or another, so don’t be afraid to reach out to your professional community for help and advice.
- Be explicit about your goals by turning on the Open-to Work feature on your LinkedIn Profile, which lets the community know you’re open to new opportunities.
- If you’re comfortable, share your experience with your network.
- You never know: sharing your story can inspire others to do the same and bring much-needed attention to this important topic.
Fifty-one percent of hirers believe people who take career breaks can restart their careers at any time. Jumping back from time away from work is more than possible. It’s a reality for many who are ready to take a new step forward in their paths to success. And that now includes you.