How to Return to Work after a Voluntary Career Break

August 22, 2017

Career Advice

These days, “gap years,” career breaks, and sabbaticals are becoming more and more common. This voluntary time off doesn’t have to be a year-long endeavor. It could be three months. It could be three weeks. It could be five years. It’s whatever you need to do what you want.

Er, what is it that these people are doing on these career breaks? They’re often expanding their knowledge by gaining skills in a new field or they’re taking time off for a little soul searching–and likely traveling around the world along the way.

Whatever it is that you’ve done during a career break, you must figure out a way to tie it back to your career path. A sabbatical can even have a place on your resume if the experiences you had are relevant to the position you’re applying for. That requires advance planning for volunteering, educational programs, passion projects, collaborations, or freelance work.

When a hiring manager sees a career break, there are a few things that can help you stand out from the other applicants. They may see that you have:

  • a willingness to take risks
  • independence
  • confidence
  • an ability to cope with many people and many situations
  • career clarity

That last point is an important one. After taking a break, you should return focused and confident in the career path you are following. Explain how your sabbatical helped you get to that point and that you’re ready to commit to a steady job again.

Image via Christine und Hagen Graf/Flickr.

About Spectrum Brands Careers

Spectrum Brands is a global $5 Billion Consumer Products company headquartered in Middleton, Wisconsin. While you may not be familiar with the Spectrum Brands name, there is no doubt you will recognize some of our brands.

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One Comment on “How to Return to Work after a Voluntary Career Break”

  1. Bilbo Baggins Says:

    Took an involuntary leave from working due to the Great Recession. Really would like to get back to work. Not finding much other than pt low paid retail/service jobs. have a college degree. I’ve also seen nepotism and age discrimination going on as well.


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