There are many different situations where a professional may take a career break such as parenthood, eldercare, or the opportunity to travel. Regardless of the reason, it can be challenging to find job after a career break. In this blog, we share some of our best advice for re-entering the workforce.

Why is it Hard to Find a Job After a Career Break?

There are many reasons that it can be difficult to re-enter the workforce after some time away. Many of the reasons relate to employers’ and recruiters’ biases, assumptions, and perceptions which can lead to a job candidate not being short-listed for a role. These could include the following:

  • Concern that the job candidate’s skills are outdated or no longer relevant.
  • Preference for a “younger” candidate that may have more working years ahead of them.
  • Questions about the candidates commitment to work/career.
  • Assumptions about whether the candidate will be able to handle working again.

It can sometimes take a long time for a job seeker to find a new job. This can be stressful and take it’s toll on attitude and self-esteem, which also make it hard.

Looking for a New Job After a Career Break

The old Johnny Lee song, “Looking for Love (in all the wrong places)” feels like it applies to searching for a new job in a traditional way. These are some creative ideas for identifying organizations and roles that may welcome a professional who is returning to work after a career break:

  • Alternative ways of working. This could include remote work (don’t limit your search to your region) or contract/gig/short term opportunities. Our job board contains flexible roles for Canadians.
  • Return to work programs. Some organizations have formal return to work programs, “returnships” which are similar to internships but aimed at professionals with breaks in their resume.
  • Organizations that embrace diversity. Carefully review the words in an organization’s job posting. If it contains statements similar to the following, they may be more open to candidates with diverse backgrounds and experience. “<the organization> is committed to an equitable, diverse, and inclusive workforce. We welcome applications from all qualified persons. We encourage women; First Nations, Métis and Inuit persons; members of visible minority groups; persons with disabilities; persons of any sexual orientation or gender identity and expression; and all those who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas and the <organization> to apply.”
  • Tap into the hidden job market. At least 60% of all jobs are found through networking rather than job searching. (Source)
  • Social media. Have you read Marnie’s story? She found her job(s) by making connections with organizations that have similar values to her own on Instagram.
  • Find your peers. Talk to others who have returned to work after a career break to learn about their approach and what worked/what didn’t. For inspiration, you can start with Carlin’s story.

Next Steps

The first step for returning to work after a career break is to start identifying potential jobs as described above. Next, professionals should consider how they are positioned in the job market for resume short-listing and job interviews. Finally, professionals should do the research to help them negotiate the role of their dreams. These are all topics for future blog posts.