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Tips for returning to work after a career break

Here are some useful hints and tips provided by one of our guest bloggers, Lisa Bramall from Ten2Two, specialists in part time and flexible working in the Milton Keynes area.

1. Refresh your outlook

Get back into ‘work mode’. What can you do? Where could you work? Did you work for a multi-national but might prefer to work for a local business? Did you work full-time but may now prefer part-time or flexible hours? Consider your options by talking to friends and researching online about the workplace and the jobs market. You need to be focused on work to find work.

Returning to work may  change your life. Think about how working will affect your day to day life and your family. Will you need more support around the house or with your children? Will it affect the family dynamic? Will you need to rely on friends for more support? Talk to your family and friends about how this change may affect you and them, emotionally and practically.

2. Refresh your professional skills

Think about volunteering for a local charity on fund-raising or helping out at events or their facilities. Once you’re an established volunteer, ask for a project in your specific professional area. Charities often need help in finance, marketing and operational areas.

Alternatively, you could offer a local business some of your time, free of charge, to help out on a project or task. This informal ‘internship’ will bring you back up to speed and like the charity work, give your CV a more contemporary feel.

3. Refresh your work skills

If you’re not accustomed to the latest technology, find a way to start using the latest versions of MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. Industry systems you used to use in your work may also have changed or been updated. Ask your local contacts who may use the new systems to give you some pointers.

Do you use the internet? Many businesses use internet-based systems and tools for sales, customer service and general management so research the current trends.

4. Refresh your qualifications and memberships

If your industry memberships have lapsed, re-register. This could be a worthwhile investment as it signals your commitment to returning to work in your specialist area.

5. Refresh your knowledge

Get up to speed on the latest developments and trends in your sector and your profession. Legislation, regulations and working practices will inevitably have changed since you last worked.

6. Refresh your CV

If you have been volunteering or working for local organisations during your carer break, put that on your CV as many employers respond positively to active people even if they haven’t been formally employed.

Have some of your old employers changed name? Update them so employers can quickly understand who you worked for. Search online for CV writing hints and tips to make your CV as relevant and contemporary as possible.

7. Refresh your contacts:

Use LinkedIn to re-connect with some of your old work contacts. A large percentage of jobs are found through personal contacts and referrals.

If you’re thinking about working locally, talk to your local friends and contacts who may either be employers themselves or who could put you in contact with local companies.

Consider registering with organisations that specialise in helping returners such as Ten2Two (www.ten2two.org).

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