There are currently 6.5 million carers in the UK. Every day another 6000 people take on a caring responsibility, meaning the total number of carers rise by 2 million people each year. The vast majority of carers are usually friends and family of the person that needs help.
These numbers show that many people have the added responsibility of caring for a loved one with the situation being serious enough that taking an extended career break is necessary.
It can be intimidating to return to work after a career break, but there are some steps that you can take to make the process easier. Read on as we tell you how.
Keep your network active
While away on caring duties, it’s very natural for professional connections to fade over time. Keeping your network active is a great starting point when you are thinking of getting back into the job market. Start by updating your CV, making sure that you include information about transferable skills you might have picked up during your time off. Next, join networking groups on sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Try to keep your old work connections active by commenting on posts and being upfront about your intentions to return to work in the future.
Networking events are a great way to meet like-minded professionals. Many of these events are free. For example, lectures hosted by universities are open to the public sometimes and could be an excellent environment to share your details with potential contacts. Always follow-up with a message after you have met them, so they have your details and because it reaffirms that you are proactive in wanting to return to work.
You could also connect with other carers through social media. They can share advice about the similar situation you are in together and pass on contacts you can approach for job leads.
Update your skills
For many people that have the added responsibility of caring for a loved one, a long time may have passed since they left work. As a result, many feel uncertain whether technology and processes might have changed since they were gone and can feel nervous or embarrassed about taking a career break.
If you want to refresh your skills, you could start by volunteering at a NGO or local charity. This will allow you to stay working at your own pace and stay informed about changing trends in your field.
Training courses are also an excellent way to brush up on your skills and update your portfolio. You could search for them online or check out the National Careers Services website. Training in other courses available online such as LinkedIn Learning, or e-learning courses on the Google Skillshop are also great to add to your CV and can be done from home.
Don’t hide your career break
There is no reason to feel like you have something to hide if you have spent time off caring for a loved one or yourself. Looking after someone in a vulnerable situation is one of the noblest endeavours we can do as human beings.
Many companies recognise that there are lots of skills one can pick up while attending to caring duties. Some examples of skills you might have gained while caring that you can put on your CV are:
- Managing a budget
- Organising and prioritising
- Time management
- Problem solving
Return to work with FDM
No matter how long your career break, companies like FDM can help you get back to work by updating your skillset with our training programmes and then place you to work with our globally recognised clients. Many FDMers were, or are currently in caring duties and have managed to return to fulfilling careers in the tech space. Check out FDM’s Returners Programme today: it’s dedicated to supporting professionals on their journey back to work.