Man giving thumbs up at a coffee shop on his laptop.

At some point, many of us decide to take a career break. It may be for maternity leave, caring for an elderly family member or maybe just a breather for purely personal reasons.

Regardless of the circumstance, getting back into the work game after a long hiatus is no easy feat. Where do you even start? How do you explain the gap in your work history? Finding a job after a break might be hard, but it’s not impossible. We have some tips for finding a fulfilling job that will get you back on track to reach your career goals.

Figure Out What You Want

After a long career break, your interests may have changed. It’s very rare that people who come back after a hiatus go back to the same work they were doing before. To avoid jumping into something that’s not a fit for you, first figure out what you’re truly passionate about. Then take a moment to list all your relevant skills. Once you’ve done that, you can start researching what kinds of jobs meet both criteria.

Take on Freelance and Volunteer Work

Before you begin applying for jobs, you’re going to need to build up your resume with some recent experience. Volunteering in your community, freelancing or doing unpaid work for a nonprofit is a great way to get back into the working game and update your skill set. If you’re not sure where to start, there are some great freelancing websites like Elance and Guru that offer a wide variety of different opportunities for professionals.

When it finally comes time to apply for opportunities, you can speak to your recent projects.  Employers will be impressed that you’re a self-starter. Even though you weren’t earning a paycheck, you spent your time learning and gaining experience. So dive in and start shaping your future!

Find Support

Whether it’s through a family member, friend or focus group, getting support is important if you’re going back to work after a long career break. Find someone who will practice interviewing with you, give you honest feedback on your resume and offer encouragement when the process gets difficult. You will likely find other people in your community who are going through a similar process. To find that external support you need for your transition, and LinkedIn groups are great places to start.

Focus on the Positive in Your Resume

When you’re ready to apply for the job you want, make sure your resume accentuates the positives of your career. Keep the keywords in line with the job description, and try not to dwell on the gap in your work history. If there are any relevant programs you have been involved in or committees you were part of during your time out of work, make sure to include that in your work experience. Recent certifications or education you received are also worth putting down for employers to see.


Want to read more helpful articles like this one? Check out our Scoop blog for more insights!

Ready for the next step in your career? Check out our regularly updated jobs page!


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Celarity is an award-winning Staffing & Recruiting agency for Marketing, Creative & Digital talent with a mission: Creating happy careers with meaningful connections. For 30 years we have proudly connected 600+ companies with over 5,000 candidates.


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