You are ready to go back to work, but since you were last in the career game the market has changed somewhat. First things first, regardless of your reason for stepping off the corporate ladder; be it, illness or becoming a parent, do not let this plant a negative or apologetic spin in either your interview or the theme of the CV. Remain positive. Highlight your skills and experience, do not focus your conversations or CV on the time you had off, focus entirely on the time when you were working.
If you have had a considerable amount of time out of work due to raising a family, there are some very important skills learnt here that can, without hesitation, be recognised as experience. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that every employer is looking for hard-nosed, career focused individuals. Many employers would trade the dizzy heights of ambition for reliable people that have business skills to make decisions and life experience to portray professionalism and incredible customer service.
The basic CV format is likely to have changed since your last job application. A personal profile can showcase your skills and years of experience without even having to mention any break in the job market. Focus your profile on engaging the reader with details of your achievements both academically and commercially. You can still achieve these in another role, if you can do it once you can do it again. Having time off does not change your work ethic, passion or motivation, so ensure this section is upbeat, business orientated and drives the reader to want more information.
In the areas of expertise section, this is your opportunity to concentrate on the most important skills in the role you are going to be applying for. Bullet pointing your abilities in key sectors will help keyword and highlight your proficiency for the role.
We’ve now reached the professional experience section, which aside from dates, would give the reader no clue that you have been out of work. It’s important to remember how you added value to the company’s you worked for. Key achievements should be, where possible, quantifiable, for example:
- Improved office efficiency through the introduction of a chronological archiving system
- Dramatically increased sales by more than 20%
- Achieved top customer service representative due to….
You get the drift. You have to make the employer want to know more. They need to read that you are more than capable of doing the job they are advertising and they need to realise that you, above all others, will achieve more.