After a lengthy hiatus from working in the corporate world, it’s essential to keep a few things in mind. Returning to the workforce can be challenging. If you have long gaps in your work history and are wanting to return to work in the same field, then this article is for you.
Let’s get started!
Gaps in Your Resume
Having a long hiatus on your resume has the potential to make you appear fickle. Or it may give the appearance that working in a team environment is too challenging. So if you are preparing for interviews, it is important that you find a positive way to frame what you did during your time away. It is important to discuss how your hiatus enriched your skillset.
Did you take any part-time work? If you did, then great! You took some time off to try your hand at consulting, but later realized you enjoyed the collaboration of a team environment. Now you are eager to return to a more challenging role. If you took time away to be with your family, talk about what that experience taught you. Raising children is a job too!
Transferable Experience and Skills
Has it been a few years since you’ve been in the game? We know that change is a constant, especially in the fast-paced world of technology. So when returning to the workforce know this: A number of companies would rather hire someone smart and capable, even if that person lacks some hands-on experience.
Transferable or “portable” skills are qualities that can be transferred from one position to another and even across industries. Indeed.com lists qualities like adaptability, organization, and dependability. These skills can be taught and practiced…and should show up on your resume.
Another transferable skill is the ability to form effective questions. Smartstorming.com identifies several questions that can be asked with the goal of challenging pre-existing assumptions. Questions like “If we didn’t have any limitations, what could we do?” open up the process of problem-solving. In fact, learning how to ask effective and timely questions is a key part of expert communication praxis. Julien Mirivel is a founding scholar in the emerging field of positive communication. In his 2014 book, The Art of Positive Communication, Dr. Mirivel expands on the idea of effective questioning. “All questions influence what people will say. Some questions constrain the next speaker’s possibilities and give more or less freedom to what they can say.” So framing questions that open up communication instead of closing it is another skill (if you choose to practice it) that can show up on your resume.
When to Opt for a Remote Role
It is always a daunting task to take time away to start a family and then decide to return to the workforce. Work-life balance is difficult. Period. If having a new family is a top priority, I recommend broadening your search to include roles that are fully or partially remote. According to Forbes.com, roughly 23% of the workforce now works remotely at least part of the time. A study from Ultimate Software indicated that this part of the workforce is thriving! Ryan Robinson’s website (ryrob.com) has put together a long list of companies that hire remote workers. And pay well. So consider deeply if remote work would work for you.
You’ll be in good company.