How to return to the workplace with confidence

Confident return workplace Ellis Fox Blog

The reasons people take a gap in their career are becoming increasingly diverse. From family responsibility, personal illness, travel sabbaticals, or further study, a gap in in a CV is neither unusual nor something to count against candidates.

Companies are realising that people are prioritising life experiences and this doesn’t take away from their ability to keep abreast of industry developments or continue to add value when they do return to the workforce. If anything, in progressive companies, there’s appreciation for the broader perspectives, insights and skills that accompany people who have taken extended time off in their careers.

Yet when you’re writing up a CV and going for interviews for the first time in years it can feel daunting. Old beliefs that a career gap is a bad thing can lead you to underestimate your abilities and value that you can add to organizations. This can erode your confidence and impact how you come across in interviews. If this is where you find yourself, here are two things you can do to ensure you put your best foot forward as you return to the workplace.

Focus on the gains rather than the gaps

Whether the break in your career was by choice or necessity, there’s no doubt you’ve emerged from it as a different person. Take time to sit down and have a conversation with yourself, focussing on the positives and learnings that have come out of the experience. Write down a list, and for each add how you’ve developed in your personal capacity. Then, if possible, consider how you might be able to apply this to your career going forward. This will help you reframe the experiences in a positive way and in the process help you realise the value you’ve gained and in doing so, boost your confidence.

Be bold in applying for roles you really want

The worst any company can say to your application is no, and if you’re not currently working you have absolutely nothing to lose. If anything, applying for top roles communicates confidence in your abilities and ambition to progress your career. Too often people returning to the workforce sell themselves short, believing that all they can expect are crumbs from the table. i.e. That they should be happy with whatever they can get even if it’s a role they’ll quickly get bored with. Go back to your list of learnings, define the value you offer and be confident in applying for the job you want.