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Returning to work

Information and advice on ensuring a smooth transition back to work after a career break.

A suited lady in an office Returning to work after a long time away can sometimes be as stressful as the decision to take a career break itself. You may well be lacking in confidence and a little nervous after having time out or feel that things have moved on during your time away.

There are some things that you can do to prepare yourself to get back into the routine of working and finding the right position for you on your return.

Finding a job

If you don’t have a job to return to your CV will need to be revamped so that you can include your career break highlighting the experience you’ve gained and demonstrating the new skills you’ve learnt. Most potential employers will see the benefits of a career break and look on this time favourably. You could also tell any new employers that having taken time out you are revitalised and ready to commit to them fully.

It can be especially difficult starting a new job after a career break working abroad as you may still be getting used to being back home. This can be a bit of a culture shock. However, you may have been able to use some of your time off to reflect on what you want to do and how to go about it.

Changes in the workplace

If you’re returning to your old employer be aware that your career break may have impacted your salary. If you’ve come back to the same job, it is likely your colleagues will have had pay rises while you have been away if you were away for a long time. You will probably have to return to work on the salary you left on.

Bear in mind that the role you are returning to could have evolved while you were on your career break. Refresher training and new training courses can help you out.

If starting a new role in a new area, a work placement is a good way to help get acquainted with the new role.

Overcoming confidence issues

A lack of confidence can be an issue for those returning to work after a break. If you are returning to the same job, a company will usually have a back to work interview, and can be an invaluable way to get you up to speed and ease you back into your role. If suffering from a lack of confidence, it might be helpful to consult a career coach or seek a mentor to support your transition.

Women returning to an engineering or technology role after a career break can contact WISE [new window] if they feel they need support and the Open University [ new window] also offers a ten week course specifically designed to help those working in the SET fields return to work smoothly.