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Glenford Smith | Back to work after a break

Published:Wednesday | January 3, 2018 | 12:00 AM

At some point, you may find yourself having to leave and return to the work world. The experience might fill you with trepidation.

Thoughts that your skills are outdated and that employers are looking for younger people are running through your head. You may have left your safe job to raise a family; you may have been made redundant; you may have left the job to travel; or you may have been a victim of unemployment.

If this is the case, the following article is intended to be a guide, leading you from the place of inner confusion to one of confidence and clarity.

One of the very first things and possibly the most important thing to consider is your self-confidence. Don't apologise or equivocate for your career break. Your life is yours and you don't have to apologise for doing whatever you want with it. Gaps in employment, for whatever reason, are a fact of life and should be handled positively and assertively.

If possible, return to the job market with additional training, but we are assuming that you don't have any. Emphasise your relevant work experience and focus on your skills and qualities. Your attention should be on what you have done, rather than what you haven't done.

Don't hobble yourself with beliefs such as you're too old now, or nobody is hiring old people like you, or things like that. You have been away from the workplace, not away from life. Experiences through travel, childbearing and life in the time away from work will serve you excellently, if you know how to sell it.

How do you prepare practically to meet the requirement of today's working world? Well, you divide up your work into before, during and after the interview, that is.




Things before the interview pertain to your rÈsumÈ and cover letter. You should include lessons from child-rearing or travel these are important. Your preparation of things to do during the interview involves someone or preferably more than one person, who should role play. That way, you should learn to answer questions fluently in the actual interview.

In the after scenario, if you are unsuccessful, you will be better able to handle the next interview. Take the lessons from the job interview and try to improve upon your answers. No matter what, do not allow yourself to get discouraged.

Remember to include and talk about positive ways you have changed as a result of the time away from work. Perhaps you are more mature and responsible, or more confident. These are important things that the employer is looking for. If you can, validate these claims with personal examples and anecdotes and that will serve you well.

The 'during the interview' scenario can be found online.

One final thing maybe your prospective employer is wondering if you are too stuck in your ways. They may wonder if you are open to adapting to new ways of doing things or you will insist on sticking to what you already know.

Set their minds at ease by reassuring them that you like to learn, and are motivated to look for a novel way of doing things. Give them an example from your experience.

- Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. He is the author of 'From Problems to Power' and co-author of 'Profile of Excellence'.