Re-entering the job market after a professional break due to parental leave, burn-out, returning to your ‘home country’ or relocating abroad can be rather overwhelming, as plenty of questions start popping up in your head, combined with a lack of self-confidence, and limiting beliefs. Am I not too old to start something new? Do I need to retrain? Is there a gap between where I’m standing now and what I’m looking for? How can I keep my work/life balance? How do I market myself meaningfully even though I have gaps in my CV? Can I offer something unique in the labour market? Having been through this process myself, I know how overwhelming it can feel.
Here are some steps to help you.
Ask yourself why you would like to relaunch your career. The answer can be very different for each of us. Maybe you want to secure personal/social & financial independence. Perhaps you also miss being intellectually challenged by your work environment and that helps you continue to learn and to grow. Or you would like to have a portable and/or virtual career to thrive wherever you are. Identify those values that are important to you. Are you clear about what you are looking for? Do you know your qualities, skills and abilities?
Take the opportunity and time to pinpoint what is important for you right now. Get clarity about who you are, what your professional expectations are and how to meet them. You can then be clear about the objectives and positions you are aiming for. As a result, you will talk with greater confidence about yourself and this will have a positive impact on your road to success.
Embrace the change
The only thing in life that remains constant is change. This appears all the truer when you go through a transition period such as relocating to a new country or going back to work after a professional break. Do not expect things to be the same as they were before. Be prepared to be both excited and overwhelmed in the beginning. The key here is to be aware of that and take things slowly, one thing at a time. However, with the right attitude and mindset, all new opportunities and challenges can be turned into valuable self-growth and great new relationships.
Unlock Your Potential
You might find out that your career break has harmed your self-esteem. You start doubting about your skills and abilities, and sometimes you even underestimate or forget about your past key achievements before your career break. Does that sound familiar? That is a good time to go down memory lane and go over your previous education, jobs, hobbies, roles … and recall what you have done, how you have done it and what you accomplished. It’s already a good start to help you identify your strengths, your skills, and see which ones you would like to use when relaunching your career.
Do you also think that your skills are only suited to the employment sector you know? Well great news, they aren’t! Your skills can be transferable. The context in which you use the skills may be different, and the activities may be labelled differently in another organisation/sector. But in essence, your core skills remain the same. Therefore, don’t forget to have a look at the other caps you might wear such as expat partner, parent, or volunteer. You will be amazed to see what other competencies you have used or developed. I mention here but a few: planning, organising, prioritising, being solution-oriented, being an active listener, being open-minded, adventurous, pro-active, collaborative, flexible, adaptable …
Know your purpose and what you are good at
Both will certainly increase your positive self-talk and self-confidence. This positive feedback loop will further influence others and attract people who will also inspire and motivate you to be yourself. As a result, your self-esteem will be boosted, and you will be requested to provide those skills or services that you want to deliver and that are meaningful to you.
Get support and involve others
Involve your family and friends up front in the change process. Tell them that they might be affected since you will be less available. Make arrangements ahead of time to assist the change, see where you can delegate, how you can be more effective in your house chores or let things go. Find support around you, people or someone who will help you through the ups and the downs of your job search. This could also be a career coach.
Relaunching your career provides you with an excellent opportunity to get to know yourself – your strengths as well as your limitations, the untapped potential hidden within you. As Marcel Proust said, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands, but in seeing with new eyes.”
So, open the windows of the new chapter in your life and let the fresh air come in. There is a lot to learn on the way. Ready to start your journey, book your
by Marie Dewulf – Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash.