By 2ndactt/ Photo by fauxels on

Life is full of responsibilities. Some give up their jobs to look after young kids. Others leave a career to take care of old family members. By the time they are freed from those family responsibilities, the middle-aged men and women can find themselves having more difficulties entering the workforce than they previously thought.

While tips and rules for landing a job after a career break can make a long list, the following are the minimum things that you can do to make job hunting easier. 

1. Spread the news out 

Career experts agree that networking is one of the most effective ways to find a job. Let your friends, ex-coworkers, and business associates know that you are getting back to the workforce in full throttle. They might keep an eye on job opportunities for you, including positions only known to them.  

2. Reconnect 

Reconnect with the business we were in, asking people about it and reading about it. It helps us pick up where we left before that extended career break. 

There are programs helping career returners get back on track. Job service provider Glassdoor and TechUK, a trade association, have lists of companies that offer programs for that purpose. 

3. Reassess your goals 

Chicago Parent suggested that parents seeking to re-enter the workforce reassess their career goals, as well as life ones. Although they gave this advice to parents, it is useful for all whose careers have been interrupted due to various reasons. 

There was a previous coworker I knew back in the days when I was working with a health magazine. She had spent 25 years writing about finance until she experienced a health problem that caused her to leave. During her long break, she reassessed her career goals. She then became a medical reporter bringing hard, medical knowledge in formats readable to the general public. 

4. Consider part-time first

Hui is an acquaintance of mine. A well-seasoned journalist winning awards, she had to, at one point, suspend her career for family reasons. By the time she was able to go back for work, there had been no suitable jobs for her.   

She accepted temporary jobs for some news outlets on a project basis. After quite some time, she was hired by a publishing company as chief editor. Hui has turned the company into a best-selling-book maker ever since her arrival. 

5. Accept bilateral moves 

Harvard Business Review wrote that one of the career fallacies is to think that a move should be a move up. It went on to discuss how often bilateral moves are more common than large promotions in corporations.

If you are looking for work opportunities after a long hiatus, this tip is also for you. Though we might not gladly accept a position lower than the one we held before, we should at least have the flexibility to resume our career from where we were. The same title. The same job descriptions. Accept the same old thing, and then we grow from there. 

6. Turn old skills into something new 

When Brian Fetherstonhaugh, Ogilvy’s Chief Talent Officer, gave a speech on his book The Long View in Taiwan a few years ago, I was among the audience. He spoke of how one of his daughters converted a Ph.D. degree in medieval history into skillsets needed in the business world. 

She turned the academic training of handling historical files into a competitive edge in collecting data, key to market research. She translated the skill of drawing information to write up reports into an ability to gain insight, crucial to business analysis. With a history major, she transformed herself into a research analyst and carved out a career based on that. 

There may be times when we are finally able to resume working, but society has changed, the market has changed, and what if the job we were so good at is no more — taken by A.I. or by Sophia, the lifelike robot, perhaps? 

That is when we have to reinvent ourselves. Can you envision yourself being a professional client service provider because you know how to meet people’s needs after years of caring for your parents? Imagine you being something else. Anything is possible. 

A break in the middle of your career will not hinder you from being excellent. Go for it when you are ready. You may probably be surprised that you have a better career than you had before.

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