How to update your CV and social media after a career break

If you’ve been out of the workplace for a while, updating your CV or social media profile can be a daunting prospect.

The good news is your CV doesn’t have to be perfect, it just needs to be an authentic representation of what you would bring to the role. This includes the valuable skills you’ve honed during your time out of the workplace – with the enriching perspective that brings.

As a co-lead on the EY Reconnect programme, with 15 years’ recruitment and career coaching experience, here are my six top tips to help you make a great impression.

  1. Tailor your CV

A good application makes clear where and how your experience is relevant. Use the job description and your own company research to clearly demonstrate where you add value. For example, your career break may have called for your budgeting, project management or delegation skills – at home or elsewhere. Make the link to show why this benefits a company that values diverse talent.

  1. Create a focused personal statement

Include four or five sentences to introduce who you are and summarise your core skills, experience and qualifications. Draw from your professional career and activities during your career break. Think of this as your elevator pitch to the employer and let them know why they would want to hire you.

  1. Position your education and qualifications

Be factual and specific about academic and professional qualifications. Never be tempted to embellish grades or courses studied, but equally, don’t forget to include any learning you’ve done for your own self-development. Many individuals have taken up valuable study during a career break, which shows energy and passion that employers find appealing.

  1. Celebrate your career break

A career break should be summarised and celebrated as such, and not disguised other ways. Clearly state the years and reasons for the break (for example ‘parental leave’) and don’t overlook any commitments or interests outside of corporate life. Our first EY Reconnect programme included individuals who’d run charities, and chaired PTA events, which definitely show drive, commitment and plenty of tenacity!

  1. Treat your CV as a transition plan

A CV is a marketing document to showcase the skills, ability and confidence that can secure your next role. A strong CV will help you set goals or identify any skills gaps you can address as you successfully cross the bridge back to work after a career break.

  1. Don’t stress about LinkedIn and social media

The workplace may have moved on during your career break, and social media is one of those things that returners can find daunting. My advice: don’t worry. Start simply by creating, or updating, a basic LinkedIn profile in-line with your CV. With some more guidance from your colleagues, you’ll be up and running in the professional social media world very quickly. EY Reconnect provides a brilliant training session on social media as part of the coaching programme. Learn more about the EY Reconnect programme here.

 

 

  • Joanna Clarke

About the author

Joanna is a Senior Manager at EY, leading the Advisory Services recruitment function and has proudly co-led the EY Reconnect career returners’ programme since inception. With over 15 years' experience in recruitment and coaching, Joanna has advised 1000s of people on job planning, CVs, negotiations and career change. She has been with EY for 3.5 years, following a successful career in agency recruitment, managing her own coaching consultancy, plus a 3 year career break to focus on her two young children.

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