TAP In with Tristan : Re-entering the Workforce After a Career Gap

Tristan Layfield has gotten a lot of questions about how to re-enter the workforce after a career gap, so he decided to focus on that very issue this week. There are many reasons why someone could have a gap in their career. However, having a career gap is not indicative of your work ethic or reliability. Just make sure you’re prepared when trying to re-enter the workforce, and you’ll be just as competitive as other candidates.

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Tristan: What’s going on, Living Corporate? It’s Tristan, and I want to thank you for tapping back in with me as I provide some tips and advice for professionals. I’ve gotten a lot of questions about how to reenter the workforce after a career gap, so let’s dive into it.

From dealing with an illness or taking care of an ill family member to raising a family or job elimination, there are many reasons why someone could have a gap in their career. Most recently, we’ve seen many women who have had to exit the workforce because they didn’t have a choice since the closing of schools and daycares limited childcare options for families. While this has affected women across ethnicities and industries, of course, Black women and other women of color have been most significantly impacted. Now that vaccines have rolled out, cases are on the decline, and those childcare establishments are now reopening many women are trying to reenter the workforce but are worried about the gap on their resume. So here are a few tips:

First, don’t let the gap get to your head. None of us have ever gone through a global pandemic before. You are not the only person in this situation so try not worry about it too much. According to a mid-pandemic study done by TopResume, 87% of recruiters said they were “unfazed by an inconsistent work history.” Don’t try to hide the gap, instead, be prepared to talk bout your time away. In these situations, I always suggest writing a cover letter as it provides space for your to explain your situation. You could also add a “career break” section to your resume to highlight skills and things you did during your time away.

Next, find ways to boost your confidence. After being out of work for some time, the job search can be daunting. Feelings of fear and anxiety can flare up, which are all normal. If this is you, you have to find your confidence again because that is an essential part of landing a job. Take a moment to reflect on your top 5 career accomplishments and write them down. Ask yourself questions like, what was the accomplishment? What did I do, or what was my role? What type of results did I create, or what results prompted this accomplishment? Writing this down and seeing it in front of you can help remind you that you are a badass.

Then, develop a job search strategy. This tip is no different than what I’ve stated in past tips. Understand the type of roles that you want. During this time off, your interests, passions, and priorities may have shifted. Get some clarity on what you’re seeking. Then edit, update, and tailor your resume to reflect where you’re trying to go and the type of organizations you want to join. Also, if you had to leave the workforce due to family reasons, try to find employers who value and support working families. They will be more understanding about your current situation and any future ones that may arise.

From there, build and tap into your network. I’ve provided so many tips on this before, so I’m not going to dive deep here. Check out tips # 28, 53, 54, and 75 for more info.

The last thing I’m going to mention is to make sure you negotiate your worth. Just because you have a career gap doesn’t mean you should settle for any salary. Assume everything is negotiable. If you have to give a range, make sure the lowest number is your absolute must-have salary, and the highest number is your nice-to-have salary. If you need additional advice, check out tip # 71.

The moral of the story here is that having a gap in your career is not indicative of your worth ethic or reliability. Just make sure you’re prepared when trying to renter the workforce, and you’ll be just as competitive as other candidates.

This tip is brought to you by Tristan of Layfield Resume Consulting. Check us out on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook @layfieldresume, or connect with me, Tristan Layfield, on LinkedIn.


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