How To Flip Your Profession Break Into An Benefit At Your Subsequent Interview


Why job seekers and employers ought to flip the script and embrace time taken away from work as an asset—not a legal responsibility.

The numbers are staggering. Greater than 40 million give up their jobs in 2021. And the development—which has been known as The Nice Resignation or The Nice Reshuffle—continues into 2022 as tens of millions extra give up each month. What will get buried within the information is the truth that most of these individuals aren’t trying out of the workforce completely. Whereas some merely moved on to different jobs for causes which may embody higher pay, others both had been pressured or selected to take what we’d now name a “profession break” earlier than re-entering the job market.

Up to now, having a niche like this in your resume may have been a deal breaker for potential employers. However that narrative is altering—particularly because the pandemic. “Many individuals had been pressured to depart their jobs whereas others selected to take a break to higher handle life exterior of labor,” says Erin Scruggs, VP, Expertise Acquisition at LinkedIn. “Ladies had been particularly impacted with 54 million out of jobs globally in the course of the first yr of the pandemic alone.”

The excellent news for job seekers is that as most employers proceed to wrestle to search out expert expertise, they’ve begun to shift their fascinated by profession breaks.

Working example: Information collected by LinkedIn exhibits that half of employers (52%) now consider candidates ought to proactively deliver up their profession breaks throughout their interviews and spotlight what they’ve realized of their time away from the workplace.

Scruggs and I mentioned ways in which job seekers can finest leverage their profession break, in addition to how employers ought to rethink how a profession break may truly be an asset for a potential rent.

Taking a break

Early in my profession, taking a “break” had a unfavourable stigma. Employers typically took it as a sign that you simply had misplaced your job or had been maybe “lazy.” It often meant you needed to spend an uncomfortable a part of any interview explaining it away. However instances positive are altering.

In keeping with LinkedIn’s information, two-thirds (62%) of workers have taken a break sooner or later of their profession. Almost half of hiring managers consider that individuals with a profession break are an untapped expertise pool, and almost two-thirds of hiring managers say they’re extra seemingly now than earlier than the pandemic to rent somebody who has taken a break from work.

“It is thrilling that the narrative on profession breaks is shifting,” says Scruggs. “The pandemic enabled this idea of ‘the entire individual’ the place Zoom screens clearly confirmed the intersection of private {and professional}. There’s a deeper recognition of humanity, and I consider that recognition and acceptance has began to normalize these life occasions that result in profession breaks.”

And the explanations that individuals take profession breaks are as distinctive as individuals themselves, says Scruggs.

“As an employer, we’re noticing that these breaks will be tied to studying a brand new talent, elevating a household or following a life ardour,” she says. “And our most up-to-date information exhibits further causes that could be tied to caregiving tasks, touring and specializing in their well being and wellbeing. These breaks are now not uncommon. Job seekers ought to really feel extra comfy and assured in the event that they’ve taken a profession break.”

A time to study and develop

With employers extra open than ever to interviewing candidates who’ve taken a profession break, normalizing these breaks will probably be important to assist eradicate any remaining stigma round them. Scruggs says that 51% of employers would extra seemingly name a candidate again in the event that they knew the context of why they took a profession break.

That’s why it’s vital for job seekers to spotlight the advantages of the breaks they’ve taken: the brand new expertise, experiences and views they’ve gained throughout their time away from work and the way they map again to the position for which they’re making use of.

Scruggs shared an instance of somebody who took time away from their profession to function a caretaker, maybe caring for younger youngsters, sick family members or growing older dad and mom. That particular person might have sharpened expertise like resilience, compassion and navigating complicated healthcare techniques.

Or, if somebody took break day to journey, they might have realized new expertise like budgeting, adaptability and cultural competence whereas exploring new cities and nations.

I’d advise job seekers to be intentional about how they mirror their break to employers,” says Scruggs. “Having a number of bullet factors that demonstrates your consciousness of how your break has formed you and your expertise is vital in order that your time away just isn’t interpreted as ‘misplaced time.’”

She advises any job seeker to follow your discuss observe and guarantee you might be giving your self due credit score for what you’ve realized and the way you’ve developed. “Weave in what makes you distinctive as an expert, and what makes the expertise you deliver to anyplace you’re employed invaluable,” she says.

Remodeling the interview

Profession breaks will proceed to hold a stigma till recruiters and hiring leaders transfer away from the 30-second profile scan that primarily appears at the latest job when evaluating potential candidates.

“Curiosity in regards to the holistic profile will increase the pool of accessible skills and might result in a ‘display screen in’ strategy versus ‘display screen out,’” says Scruggs. “It’s simpler to make use of job titles and years of expertise as a proxy to determine who to name. In a aggressive expertise market, employers will win after they go deeper, get curious and study in regards to the individual past the profile.”

One strategy to go deeper in a dialog with a job seeker is to ask them in regards to the sorts of expertise they might have realized or honed on their profession break. “Recruiters ought to ask questions that target expertise or behaviors that assist stage the taking part in area, versus extra conventional questions which can be centered on pedigree and previous work expertise,” says Scruggs.

She suggests asking questions like:

  • “Inform me in regards to the evolution you noticed in your self throughout this break? What did you study problem-solving? How would you apply these expertise on this position?”
  • “The setting for this position is fast-paced and requires our workforce to have the ability to change instructions incessantly. Inform me a few time throughout that break that required you to alter course and what you realized about staying agile.”
  • “The position could have many competing priorities, and also you’ll be requested to stability many workstreams successfully. What have you ever realized about prioritization and multitasking and the way may you apply that to the position?”

Leaning into a versatile office

As employers forge forward of their efforts to win the Warfare for Expertise, attracting candidates who’ve taken profession breaks additionally means embracing flexibility and deliberately constructing it into the office.

“An increasing number of employers are recognizing this with 81% of leaders altering their office insurance policies to supply larger flexibility,” says Scruggs.

The takeaway is that as we transfer into the long run, how, the place and after we work will proceed to alter. And it’s the employers who finest perceive their shift and lean into creating as versatile a office as potential will undoubtedly turn out to be tomorrow’s employers of alternative.


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