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Returning to work? Here are five tips to help the transition

Returning to work

Have you recently taken a break from employment? Perhaps you've been on maternity/paternity leave; maybe you've taken time off to travel the world or you've gone back into full time education. Whatever the reason, getting back into work can be a daunting prospect. We've helped a number of candidates return to work successfully. 

People have asked us a variety of questions over the years, but the most common are:

  • What if I have lost all of my skills or can’t perform at my best?
  • How can I rebuild my confidence?
  • I’ve lost touch with my connections/the market, how do I start to rebuild this?

There are a few things we advise candidates to do to help ease the transition and answer these questions.

Update your CV

No matter the reason or how long you have been out of work, review, update and clearly explain the time out of work on your CV. Honesty is the best policy. Remember that things may have changed since your last CV; look at the information you're conveying as well as the format/layout - consider if a revamp might be in order.

There is a lot of advice on the internet regarding CV’s. How to format/style them, how much or little information to add in, it's all relevant and can have an impact. Check out our blog on how to write an eye-catching CV.

We also have a CV template to help you along the way if you are going for a full revamp.


Get back in touch with those work colleagues/friends you have lost touch with and find out what is happening in their world of work. You never know what little bits of useful information you might pick up regarding job opportunities on the market.

Get in touch with recruitment firms; they have their finger on the pulse regarding the latest jobs in the industry. So whether you are reconnecting or establishing a new relationship, do your research on reputable firms and schedule a call or a visit. They will offer you support in a number of areas, including:

  • Advice on your CV/situation and what the job market is like
  • Highlighting current opportunities
  • Suggestions on interview preparation 
  • Some temporary work that maybe the best option short term as a confidence booster, helping you get back into the working environment


If you don’t have a LinkedIn page, make one. If you do but haven’t used it for a while, update it. LinkedIn will enhance your personal online brand. Make sure there is a professional photo with a clear breakdown on your career history. Some things that may help are;

  • Connect with people you know – previous colleagues, managers etc.
  • Request recommendations from those you have worked with 
  • Follow companies so that you will see up to date information and opportunities they advertise

Having a LinkedIn page is a great tool for your personal brand, but will also allow recruiters and employers to reach out to you too. Make sure you use keywords that relate to your experience as many people do searches on specific words. For example, if you are a legal secretary, you may want to ensure the words in the description of your roles includes “track changing”, “audio typing”, and so on.

Get those Skills Back up to Speed

It is normal to feel like your time out of the market may have an effect on your skills. There are ways to get back up to speed so that you feel confident when applying for a new role. Training courses are available online, whether that is how to use the latest version of excel or to get your typing speed back up to scratch. Websites such as Lynda.com or Pitman training can help and YouTube has a wealth of information available. 


Not everyone is comfortable networking, but there are many events out there that you can attend that aren’t so intimidating. Recruitment firms often host regular networking evenings and this will give you the chance to meet people in the industry again.  

If you are ready to take that step and you would like assistance, just get in touch and a consultant will meet with you to discuss your options.

You are in charge of your own destiny but a little helping hand along the way is useful.

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