Almost one million Australians lost their job in the wake of the pandemic. Between lockdowns, restrictions, homeschooling, and other caring responsibilities, many of us found ourselves out of work.

But now, as we return to some sense of normalcy, the unemployed are looking to dive head-first into the workforce, a feat that’s easier said than done.

A career break can leave you unconfident, uninspired, and utterly nervous. But don’t fret – the most successful among us (Walt Disney and Steve Jobs, to name a few) have survived bouts of unemployment. You can, too.  Let’s look at five tips that’ll help you bounce back after a career break.

Tip 1: Know what you want

Recognise this period as your opportunity to redefine the trajectory of your career. What do you actually want to do? Are you motivated by lifestyle or finances? What are your future aspirations?
If possible, avoid the take-whatever-I-can-get mentality and be discerning in your selection process.

Now’s the time to take meaningful steps toward your goals.

Tip 2: Let go of baggage

Whether you were asked to leave by your employer or had your security pulled out from under you in the face of a global health crisis, it’s only natural to feel angry, hurt, and short-changed.
Don’t dwell on injustice and stop fuming.

Let go of the baggage and step into the next chapter of your career knowing, believing in your worth.

Tip 3: Revisit your skillset

A break from your career doesn’t mean a break from learning. Chances are, you’ve developed a whole host of skills that a company would find valuable.

If you spent time volunteering, were you trusted with a project leadership role?

If you helped care for older relatives, did you teach them how to watch videos on YouTube?

If your kids were out of day-care, did you work through online courses during their nap time?

Think laterally and take stock of all the new transferable skills you acquired during your break. Employers always esteem a continuous improvement mindset.

Tip 4: Rewrite your resume

Don’t feel anxious about the gap between your last job and today. Times have been tough, and most employers understand. If you can demonstrate that you kept on top of your skills and industry knowledge, they’ll be impressed.

Once you’ve got the basics of your resume mapped out, tweak it for each application using the job description as a guide. Remember, most resumes are run through an Application Tracking System (ATS). This is an automated software that looks for keywords, forwards resumes that contain the keywords, and ditches those that don’t.

So, keep an eye out for repeated words and phrases in the job description, and be sure to use these in your resume.

Tip 5: Remember your worth

You’ve covered all the bases – you know what you want, you know what you’re qualified for, and you’ve got a killer resume in tow. You’re applying for jobs for the first time in a long time, and you’re feeling good.

But then something terrible happens. You get an email that begins with the telling word: unfortunately.

Don’t let this setback knock you off your horse. Keep on keeping on. Know your worth, and if you’re still feeling disheartened, don’t be afraid to ask friends and family for feedback on your strengths and talent.

The future is unwritten

Jumping back into the workforce can be daunting – there’s no doubt about it. Don’t let past experiences define your future. Embrace the opportunity and take strides toward reaching your career and lifestyle goals. This could be the start of a great adventure.

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