How to write a resume after a long break

Work skills and abilities are similar to good physical shape: they need constant support and practice. Sometimes we have to suspend our work activities (maternity leave, long vacation, illness, personal circumstances). And so, we return to work and feel like interns: much has been forgotten or changed, and the employee may need clarification. Not to mention the job search: you can get into a dilemma here.

There can be many reasons for a long break from work: lack of exciting and profitable employer offers, maternity leave, caring for a seriously ill relative, etc. But, regardless of the reason, recruiters distrust such applicants and often believe that such employees have lost their professional skills. 

What should you be prepared for when looking for a job? The most common problem faced by applicants with a long break in their work experience is a low assessment of their qualifications and labor potential. As a result, hiring managers and employers distrust such employees, believing they have lost their knowledge and skills during an extended leave. This is especially important when you want to work abroad, for example, looking for jobs in Qatar.

Do I need to indicate a long break in my resume?

Many applicants ask: “How do I indicate my long break in work in my resume? And is it worth doing at all?” It is for the simple reason that honesty inspires trust, and the truth will come out anyway. So you need to indicate your period of work in previous companies in the form of dry figures: from this year to that.

To catch the attention of a recruiter or employer, focus on your advantages:

  • Work experience.
  • Professional qualities.
  • Achievements at the last workplace.
  • Your courses and certificates.
  • Personal rates were helpful for work.

It will be a plus if you still have a portfolio of recent works (if your specifics allow it).

Even long periods of unemployment are not decisive for employers if they are followed by professional experience in the relevant field.

A current employment gap only affects your employment success if you have been unemployed for up to nine months. An employment gap of 9 months or more can only reduce your chances if you are looking for a middle or low-skilled job. If you have gaps in employment, you can briefly explain this break in your cover letter.

Key ideas: 

  • Only mention relevant experience and tailor this CV section according to the job requirements.
  • If you have long breaks in your career history, it is advisable to explain why you have not worked for a period in your cover letter.
  • Group similar responsibilities in your career to keep your resume manageable.
  • Include keywords from the job description that is relevant to your experience.
  • If you have a solid work history, include only the last 5-10 years.
  • Make all paragraphs of the section short and easy to read.
  • Include only information that is relevant to the employer.
  • Check for grammar and spelling mistakes.

How to improve your resume after a career break

Before you start looking for a job after a long break, you will have to work on your resume. We made some valuable tips to help you do this.

Use a clear statement of goals. Present clear information about your career goals in advance. This tells the employer that you are not just looking for a job but have a long-term plan. The best objective statements are a few lines long and reflect your experience, the value you add to the company, and your vision of the ideal job.

Include a link to your LinkedIn profile in your resume. To demonstrate to a potential employer that you stay connected in your professional field, include links to your LinkedIn profile and other career-related sites in your resume. Make sure you are actively using these technologies. An updated LinkedIn profile with recommendations from several former colleagues to verify the quality of your work shows that you have tried to keep in touch with your network during your break and validates your professional experience.

Speak the language of numbers. Many resumes are vague and talk about “achievements” and “strengths” without any details. This is more true for women returning after a career break which may not have had formal achievements in the last 2-3 years. But to convince the employer of your professionalism, words alone are not enough, so use numbers. For example, tell us how many projects you led at your last job, show the success of your work in monetary units, or use other digital indicators.

Don’t present anything done during your break as a hobby or something you did to “fill the gap.” If you did any independent work during this time, group it under the heading “Consulting” and explain the general nature of your work. If you did any volunteer work, classify the elements under the title “Non-profit activities” and describe the heart of this work in detail. Present it as a heavy use of your time, and employers will likely give accordingly.

How to convince the employer

The second part of the job search after a long break is the interview. Naturally, many applicants begin to worry a lot about this. After all, it is not known how the employer will react to a long pause in work or whether there will be prejudice on his part in this regard.

The first thing to do in this case is to tune in to a successful outcome of the conversation. The second is to follow the simple five rules of how to pass the interview after a long pause in work.

Justify the reason for an extended break. Try to be truthful and concise at the same time. Omissions may arouse suspicion, and excessive frankness may repel.

Your break is motivation. Any employer wants a truly motivated employee in their team. So tell them about your perseverance and desire to work.

Emphasize your professional advantages. Especially if you are good at what you do, an additional advantage will be that you did not sit idle, but tried to improve your qualifications, learn a foreign language or master a new skill.

Remember your qualifications. It is better, of course, to start resuming immediately after a break, especially after several years of pause. Agree with your employer about your professional growth, and make a plan for your professional development.

Do not be afraid of compromises. Sometimes you have to give a little, for example, in salary. Don’t be discouraged by this: sometimes it is better to take a small step back to take all ten forward.

Looking for a job after a long pause is almost no different from a regular job search. First, you must put aside doubts and start the process. The result will be short in coming. Our team wishes you successful search and career achievements!

How to find a job after a long pause

Even if your break lasted several years, finding a job is not an obstacle. Some applicants even start looking in advance before coming out of maternity leave, for example. Do not hesitate to use everything where you can find a job:

  • Social networks.
  • Job search sites.
  • Exchanges.
  • Friends and acquaintances.

It is excellent if you have good relationships at your previous job. They may help you, if not to get a job back, to lead you to new career connections.

To sum up, you should not hope for a high salary after a long break in employment. However, it would be best if you did not belittle your abilities. Recruiters advise such specialists to refrain from indicating too high a salary in their resumes but to prove their ability and try to increase the level of remuneration of their work during the interview. Set a goal to send as many resumes as possible every day, at least 10. When meeting with an employer at an interview, you must prove that you have retained your labor potential and professionalism. Demonstrate the knowledge that you managed to gain during the break in work.

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