How to Find Success After a Career Break
After a career hiatus, a time limited arrangement such as an internship, temporary job, or volunteer opportunity can allow you to try out an employer, update your experience, and relaunch your career.
At some point, many professionals find they need to interrupt their careers to care for children or parents, to relocate, to fulfill military duties, or for other personal reasons.
But when it’s time to return to the workforce, they often find that employers are hesitant to hire them because of their résumé gap. They may even find themselves doubting their abilities after being away for so long, says Carol Fishman Cohen, CEO and co founder of iRelaunch, a company that runs career re entry conferences and events for employers and individuals.1
Cohen, who returned to the workforce after an 11 year break, says she is committed to fixing that disconnect between employers and the returning professionals—whom she calls “relaunchers.”
Cohen says relaunchers are “gems” because they are in a place in life where they know themselves very well, have great experience, and are excited about working again. But she notes that employers have two primary concerns about relaunchers: (1) Are their skills updated and relevant? and (2) Do they know what they want to do, or do they expect the employer to figure that out for them?
She advises relaunchers to consider working in a time limited arrangement, such as an internship or temporary or volunteer position. It can help prove value to an employer, as well as build skills and gain current experience. These career building experiences can also help relaunchers decide if the employer and work situation is right for them.
Cohen notes that some organizations have begun to recognize relaunchers as a valuable segment of the workforce and have developed short term re entry programs. Employers like these arrangements because they can hire the relauncher based on a “work sample” as opposed to just interviews, Cohen says. This can apply to career changers as well. “The employer doesn’t have to make a hiring decision until the trial period is over,” which removes some of the risk employers associate with hiring those who’ve been out of the workforce for a while.
Creating Your Own Temporary or Internship Situation
Although it’s great that some employers have specific re entry opportunities, they are not easy to come by. Thus, in addition to tapping your network, experts suggest crafting your own temporary, internship, or volunteer experience.2 To propose an internship or volunteer or temporary arrangement:
- Contact companies of interest and offer your services for free for a limited amount of time.
- Let them know about your experience and the skills you’d like to use to help them.
- Be sure to explain that you are looking to sharpen your skills and get current experience and references.
Career experts also suggest contacting your alumni career planning and development office, as employers often look to universities for interns—and some may consider older workers as well.
How an Online Education Can Help
If you are considering a career re entry—or change in direction—one of the top ways to build your qualifications is by pursuing a degree through an online education program.
As an accredited university, Walden University offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs online. In addition, it provides career planning and development that can help you assess interests and skills, explore careers, research industries and occupations, and identify job opportunities.
Earning a degree is one of the ways you can prepare for success after a career break. Walden can help you sharpen and update your skills from wherever you are, on a schedule that works for you.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.
1 Source: www.ted.com/talks/carol_fishman_cohen_how_to_get_back_to_work_after_a_career_break?referrer=playlist talks_to_kickstart_your_next_career&language=en
2 Source: www.nextavenue.org/internships arent just college kids/
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.