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Tips to Position Career Breaks During Interviews

Career Breaks: Expert Tips to Position Your Experience During Job Interviews

A Career Break can be a transformative period, offering invaluable personal growth and experiences. However, when it comes to re-entering the job market, many individuals struggle to effectively position their career break during interviews.

In this article, we will explore practical strategies and insightful advice to help you confidently present your career break experience, emphasizing the valuable skills and attributes gained during this time.

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Tips to Position Career Breaks During Interviews

Summary: Tips to Position Career Breaks During Job Interviews

  • Understanding the Power of a Career Break
  • Crafting a Compelling Narrative
  • Addressing Potential Concerns
  • Highlighting Transferable Skills
  • Networking and Professional Development
  • Conclusion: How to Position Career Breaks During Job Interviews
Preppally | Career Guidance | Jeroen De Koninck | Founder

Written by Jeroen
Founder Preppally
June, 20, 2023

Understanding the Power of a Career Break

Taking a career break is a bold decision that can significantly impact your professional trajectory. It is essential to recognize that this time away from traditional work settings does not diminish your capabilities or value as a professional. Instead, it offers an opportunity for personal development, self-reflection, and acquiring transferable skills that can greatly benefit your future career.
During your career break, you may have engaged in various activities such as traveling, volunteering, pursuing further education, or caring for loved ones. These experiences have likely equipped you with a diverse set of skills, including adaptability, problem-solving, cultural sensitivity, and resilience. Understanding the value of these skills is crucial when positioning your career break during interviews.

While some employers may view career breaks with skepticism, many recognize the potential for personal growth and unique perspectives that individuals gain during these periods. There a many benefits from taking a career break or traveling for a while.

By effectively communicating your experiences and the skills you have acquired, you can demonstrate how your career break has positively influenced your professional capabilities and prepared you for new challenges.

Preppally Two People Discussing Their Career

Crafting a Compelling Narrative

One of the most critical aspects of positioning your career break is developing a compelling narrative that showcases your journey and growth during this time. Start by reflecting on your career break experiences and identifying the core themes and skills that align with your desired career path. This narrative will provide a framework for communicating your story effectively during interviews.
When crafting your narrative, it is essential to highlight the transferable skills you gained during your career break. For example, if you traveled extensively, emphasize how this experience enhanced your adaptability, cultural awareness, and ability to thrive in unfamiliar environments. If you were involved in volunteer work, discuss how it developed your leadership, teamwork, and problem-solving abilities.
Remember to tailor your narrative to the specific job role and company you are interviewing with. Focus on aspects of your career break that are relevant to the position and emphasize how your experiences have equipped you with unique insights and skills that can contribute to the company's success. By aligning your narrative with the employer's needs, you demonstrate your value and relevance.
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Addressing Potential Concerns

Employers may have concerns regarding the gap in your employment history. Proactively address these concerns by framing your career break in a positive light. Explain how it was a deliberate decision that allowed you to pursue personal growth, gain new perspectives, or address personal responsibilities. Emphasize the steps you took during your break to stay updated and engaged with your industry.
Demonstrate your commitment to your professional development by highlighting any courses, certifications, or relevant projects you undertook during your career break. This shows potential employers that you utilized your time effectively and remained committed to staying current in your field. Additionally, mention any part-time or freelance work you may have undertaken to maintain your skills and contribute to relevant projects.
Avoid being defensive or apologetic about your career break. Instead, focus on the skills and experiences you gained, how you maintained your professional relevance, and the passion and enthusiasm you have for returning to work. By displaying confidence and a positive attitude, you can alleviate potential concerns and reassure employers of your readiness to re-enter the workforce.
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Highlighting Transferable Skills

One effective strategy for positioning your career break during interviews is to highlight the transferable skills you acquired during that time. Transferable skills are competencies that are valuable across different roles and industries. Identify the skills you developed or enhanced during your break and emphasize how they align with the requirements of the job you're applying for.
For example, if you took time off to care for a family member, you likely developed excellent organizational and time management skills, as well as empathy and patience. These skills can be valuable in roles that require multitasking, coordination, and working with diverse teams. Similarly, if you pursued further education, highlight the knowledge and expertise you gained that can be applied to the job at hand.
Remember to provide concrete examples of how you have successfully utilized these transferable skills in real-life situations. Share stories that demonstrate your ability to adapt, problem-solve, and contribute to achieving positive outcomes. By showcasing the practical application of your transferable skills, you can convince employers of your value and relevance to their organization.
Preppally Man Waiting for Job Panel

Networking and Professional Development

During your career break, you may have leveraged networking opportunities and engaged in professional development activities. These endeavors can play a crucial role in positioning your career break during interviews. Highlight any industry events, conferences, or networking groups you participated in to stay connected and informed about industry trends and developments.
When discussing your networking and professional development efforts, emphasize the connections you made and the knowledge you gained. This demonstrates your commitment to continuous learning and professional growth, despite being on a break. It also showcases your proactive approach to staying relevant and connected within your industry.
If you maintained a professional online presence through platforms like LinkedIn, mention the steps you took to engage with industry peers, share insights, and contribute to relevant discussions. Employers appreciate candidates who demonstrate an ongoing commitment to their field, even during career breaks. Showcasing your active participation in professional communities can alleviate concerns about your readiness to re-enter the workforce.
Preppally Woman Answering Career Questions

Conclusion: How to Position Career Breaks During Job Interviews

Positioning a career break during interviews may seem challenging, but with the right approach, you can turn it into a compelling asset. Emphasize the valuable skills, experiences, and personal growth you gained during your break. Showcase your adaptability, transferable skills, and commitment to professional development.

By effectively communicating your story and aligning your experiences with the employer’s needs, you can confidently navigate interviews and secure new opportunities to continue your professional journey.

Embrace your career break experience and let it become a powerful differentiator in your job search.

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Written by Jeroen
Founder Preppally
June, 20, 2023

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