How to Return to Work After a Career Break

Many people choose to take a career break, as they might want to focus on raising their family, travel the world, take a mental health break, or care for a poorly loved one.

While many hiring managers might be more than happy to welcome you with open arms into their company, others might be a little cautious to hire you after a lengthy break away from the industry.

If you feel ready to tackle working life once again, read these tips on how to return to work after a career break.

Consider Your Situation

Your circumstances might have changed since you were last employed. It is, therefore, important to consider your current situation to find a role that best fits your needs. 

For example, you may need to factor in:

By identifying your wants and needs, you can quickly and easily rule out roles when browsing the job market.

Brush Up on Your Industry Knowledge

The industry will likely have moved on considerably since you were last employed. After all, companies might have introduced new technologies or processes, or they might need to adhere to shifting consumer demand or new government legislation. 

To ensure you appear knowledgeable to a hiring manager, you must update your knowledge on the sector. For example, you should sign up for industry newsletters, read the latest news, and check out informative blogs.

Utilize Your Network

It might be beneficial to reach out to your former co-workers and employers before returning to employment. They could potentially recommend you for a role or could update you on the latest market trends or industry changes. For example, they could inform you of the new big players in the sector or provide an insight into the latest jargon.

Briefly Explain Your Career Break

A hiring manager will likely want to know why you decided to take a break from employment, as they will want to recruit a hardworking, dedicated member of staff. It is wise to have an answer at the ready, but you must ensure your explanation is clear yet brief.

For example, you could say, “I decided to raise my son/daughter until they went to kindergarten” or “I had to take a break to care for a sick relative.” Try not to focus too much on your time away from a workforce, and you should mention your past achievements to increase confidence in your ability, even if they were some years ago.

Boost Your Skillset

If you want companies to be queuing down the block to make you an offer, you should attempt to boost your skillset before you return to work. For example, you could expand your leadership skills and ability to improve internal efficiency by obtaining an operations management degree online. It could help you to climb the career ladder in operations, procurement, and revenue. 

Tweak Your Resume

A long career break can be off-putting to hiring managers, and they might quickly disregard your resume if it doesn’t feature any information about what you have been up to during your absence from the industry. 

For example, you could add a ‘relevant experience’ section to update a potential employer on what you have been up to, such as any volunteering experience or skills you have gained.

Don’t forget to highlight any achievements you earned, even if they were many years ago. It could be enough to convince an employer to invite you for an interview and offer you a position at their company. 

Perfect Your Cover Letter

A cover letter will serve as an introduction into who you are and what you do. In fact, it is likely a hiring manager will read this before they even glance at your resume. You must immediately explain why you chose to take a career break and why you want to return to working life.

If you are planning to secure a similar career, state you are excited to return to the rewarding position. If, however, you are seeking a new role, express how excited you are at embracing a brand-new challenge. It will prove you are passionate about a position and the industry, which could convince them that you might be the right person for their business.

Wow at an Interview

One of the biggest challenges you might face following a career break could be the interview process. An interviewer will want reassurance that you will not abandon the company in the near future.

You’ll need to convince them that you will not flee at the first opportunity and state it wasn’t your decision to take an employment break. For instance, you could express you had to overcome a personal problem or focus on your family. However, maintain a positive attitude and mention any new skills you gained during the break. You also should avoid highlighting how long you have been away from working life, which could make them doubt whether you have the knowledge and experience to flourish in a role.

You will also need to thoroughly research the brand to prove you care about both the brand and a job at the company. Plus, you must prove you are just as experienced and insightful as someone who has been consistently in the position.

If you can reassure a hiring manager that you are ready, willing, and capable of thriving in a role, they will be more likely to offer you a position. So, improve your knowledge and have confidence in your skills and ability to convince them there is no better candidate for a job.


Returning to working life might seem daunting at first, but it doesn’t need to be. To walk back into a new or the same industry with ease, you must aim to grow your skillset, update your industry knowledge, and tweak your resume to impress every employer. 

Don’t be ashamed of your absence from employment — instead, state why you took the break and express why you are ready to enter a workforce. If you have confidence in your ability and the skills to back it up, it will be a matter of time until you an employer offers you a rewarding role at a flourishing company.

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