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Applying after a break? THIS is how you write a CV

November 28, 2018 08:20 IST

Always emphasise that it was 'YOUR' decision to take a break and then come back, says Neha Bagaria.

How to get back at your career

Photograph: Kind courtesy JobsForHer

In the fast-paced cut-throat competition-laced work environment of today, taking a break from one's career is not something unnatural.

Rather, it is quite common.

The reasons can be far varied -- be it motherhood, family reasons, ill health, education, travel or pursuing a lifelong dream, people often take a sabbatical.

However, such a break is still not very well accepted by employers.

The trick is to update your CV in such a manner that the employer looks past your break and hires you for who you are and the skill sets you possess.

If you are going for an interview, prepare yourself well for questions that will be asked about your career break.

An interview is the best instance when you can highlight how you are perfectly ready to take on new challenges.

Be frank about your break and why you are ready to return to work.

Get prepared for your interview and get confident about your break with these resume writing tips:

1. Anticipate what you are getting into

Times are changing, and fast.

Even if you were on a break for a short period of time, the market might have undergone a sea change and the skills earlier required for your job position could have changed, too.

The best way to achieve success is to do your research about your preferred jobs and find out what kind of skill sets they require.

This would also help you familiarise yourself with market dynamics.

You could also consider a bit of reskilling or training to bag that ideal job.

Once you have identified what lies ahead, you can start exploring and weighing the options.

Connect and network with people in the industry, create an online profile and join a professional association.

By educating yourself, you will pick up industry jargon and fad words which you can then put into your CV.

2. Accept your sabbatical

Don't hide your sabbatical.

Having unclarified gaps in your CV will make the recruiter question your entire job application.

Address the career gap concisely and do not make it up or hide it.

You don't need to get into too much detail.

Just write a short title that explains your break, for eg, motherhood, international travel, family care, professional and personal development, MBA, medical reasons, etc.

It is also an important opportunity for you to showcase what you have done during your absence.

You can put down things like, attended workshops or training related to your industry, reskilled yourself, attended conferences or workshops related to your industry, etc.

3. Get creative with your 'gap'

During a career break, people often develop new skills that add to their existing skill sets.

Some also use this time to reskill themselves by enrolling for a course. This helps.

Also, think about what new skill you have picked up that you can add to your resume to make it stronger.

Maybe you have volunteered for something, worked as a freelancer or a consultant, contributed to an agency or even took an adventurous trip.

You can explain to potential employers how this helped improve your leadership and organisational skills.

Start making a note of them and get creative with your resume.

Write a short summary on top of your resume as you wish to be seen.

Highlight your skills and weave in new experiences you've gained in your time away, to better sell yourself as a great candidate for the job.

At the end of the day, a resume is primarily a sales document; therefore, highlight everything that will sell you at your best. Whenever you get confused as to what to put in the CV, ask yourself, “Is this selling me?”

Assess the quality of your CV and only include those qualities which are selling you in a positive light.

So, don't save the best for last, always share your key achievements right at the beginning.

A career break will stay with you for your entire lifespan so make sure you highlight all your achievements and outcomes that you have achieved before your break as well.

4. Keep moving ahead

If you are going for an interview after your break period, prepare yourself well for questions that will be asked on your career and the break that you have taken.

Also, highlight how that particular experience will support you as you move forward.

An interview is the best instance when you can highlight how you are perfectly ready to take on new challenges.

Be frank about your break and why you are ready to return to work.

5. Cover letter

Do write a cover letter where you could update your employer on the reasons for your career break and include your commitment to return to work.

Always emphasise that it was 'YOUR' decision to take a break and then come back.

It shows that you are a committed and efficient worker!

So, the emphasis should be to get creative and not hide that gap.

Instead showcase what that gap did for you and what you bring to the table as a highly-valued, high-touch, highly qualified and experienced employee.

These are different, unique, and gentle (yet hard-hitting) ways to get an employer to sit up and take notice of the person that the document represents.

 Lead image published for representational purposes only.

The author Neha Bagaria is founder and CEO, JobsForHer, a firm that helps women get back at their careers.

Neha Bagaria