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How to get back into the workforce after taking a long break

People take breaks from their careers due to various reasons such as health issues, being laid off, to take care of their families, to further their studies or to simply rediscover themselves. Whatever the reason may have been, getting back to work can be nerve-wracking, especially if the break was a long one.

However, do not let your emotions distract you from breaking back into the job market. Here are four simple tips to help you transition back into the employment world.

1.Assess your job needs

Before you begin looking for new jobs, it is important to think about the career path you would like to pursue. Don’t just jump at the first opportunity that comes your way. Take time to decide whether you want to go back to the same field, or you would like to explore different opportunities. Settling for a job that you don’t find gratifying will only leave you frustrated.

2.Update your CV

Don’t try to hide your career gap and instead be honest about the period you were away from work. However, focus on the positives and include any relevant skills you might have acquired during this period in your CV. If you took any courses or engaged in voluntary work, be sure to point this out.

READ: The Beginners Guide to CV Writing

3.Network

The simplest way to network after taking a career break is by reaching out to former colleagues and asking for job leads. Your former workmates are also better placed to inform you about any major changes that might have occurred in your industry. If you wish to change jobs, attend various workshops/ conferences or join social media groups where you can interact with professionals in your new field.

4.Prepare for interviews

The career gap in your CV will likely come up during interviews so it is important to practice answering this question. Be brief but clear when explaining what you did during your leave and never apologize for taking the break. If you gained new skills during this time, highlight them and explain how they relate to the position you are interviewing for. Don’t dwell on your career break too much and instead talk about the skills and experience you had before taking the extended leave. It is also important to do some research to ensure you are up to date with the current trends in the particular field. This will demonstrate that you are not only committed but also enthusiastic about rejoining the workforce.

This article was first posted on Fuzu.

If you or someone you know is dealing with mental health problems and would like to talk to someone, visit bonga.or.ke to speak anonymously.

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