One of the biggest tips any careers advisor gives a high school or college student is never to submit a resume with career gaps. Having gaps in your career history can look unprofessional and unaccounted for information begs too many questions for some. A solid career history is the goal for nearly all prospective job candidates, as a career gap can make you less attractive to an employer. The same goes for many jobs in a short time period: people want employees who are reliable, strong and able to hold down a good job for a good period of time. If you’re in the unlucky few that have had to have a gap in your employment history, don’t panic. Most employment gaps are easily explained and usually for a very good reason, such as time off for a family, further education and even an injury.
Recovering your career after an employment gap isn’t always the easiest thing to do, especially if you have been out with an injury for some time. Sometimes, the injury that you have been recovering from can be the reason you struggle to find work again, as a change in career could be necessary. Getting the right advice about returning to work after an injury from Stephen Babcock personal injury attorney is a smart thing to do. You need to have all the information that you need to hand so that you aren’t discriminated against by a new employer and you can tackle questions about your employment gap with confidence and class. A long absence from work doesn’t just affect how employers feel about you, but how you feel about yourself.
Your confidence can take quite a knock when you’ve been out of the workplace for a while, as it can feel like the ‘rules’ have changed. Offices are often places of cliquey behaviour and when you are returning to work in the same place you have take time away from, the status quo can shift and finding your feet can be fairly difficult. It’s difficult to readjust to a workplace that you have been familiar with for a long time, but that has suddenly changed. Even things such as processes and technology upgrades can be difficult to relearn, but this is where your employer should come in and assist you. Depending on the severity of the injury that you have spent time recovering from, you should have workplace assessments in place so that you are comfortable and secure in your role.
While not everyone can return to the workplace after an injury, the goal should always be to get your life back as much as possible. It’s a realistic goal, to want to return to a normal life after a break away from your career. It doesn’t always have to be the case that you return to the same job, especially if your recovery has taken a couple of pretty intensive years to get through. However, that doesn’t mean your skills and abilities are not still wanted in other companies and while it can seem quite overwhelming to get back to work, you can do it with the right support around you and some careful planning. When you do decide the time is right to get back to the workplace, you can follow some of the strategies below to make the transition easy for yourself.
Get Support. One of the first things you should have is support. Being off work – whatever the reason – can throw you out of sync with your experience and qualifications. Seek the help of a recruitment consultant or careers advisor so that you can engage in classes to retrain in certain programmes and get a refresher in what you already know. Most computer programmes update on a fairly regular basis, so refresher courses here can ensure you’re not going to be blindsided at work when you go back. Asking for and accepting help from other people is a sign of strength on your part, and not weakness, so don’t be afraid to ask for the help that you desperately want.
Be Ready. This sounds fairly obvious, but you’d be surprised at the number of people who return to work after some time off who aren’t yet ready to be there. The workplace can be an exhausting place to be, and for the most part this exhaustion is mentally draining rather than physically. It can be tiring to get up and go every day into full time work, so try and work out a staggered schedule with your new employer. Starting part time and gradually increasing your hours can be far better for you in the long run so that you don’t end up crashing and burning by going too quickly. Be honest with yourself and your employer about how much you can handle, and don’t take on more than you are able to. Making major decisions in the workplace can be difficult when you’ve taken time out, so opt for support at work and regular meetings to discuss your progress.
Be Realistic. You have just come back to the workplace after a long time away, so you have to be very realistic with yourself and how much you can do. Be willing to accept feedback, even the negative feedback, so that you can progress rather than stagnate. You can be positive about your own return to work, but there is a balance that you need to find between being positive about your own return and about being realistic. It’s very important to stay positive after a career break, but you also need to be real with yourself and your employer – don’t be afraid to say no if something pushes your set limits.
Going back to work doesn’t have to be a scary prospect, but it does have to be something you are ready for and confident about. Take your time, get some support and make your return to the workplace a positive and fulfilling one. You won’t regret taking your time!