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GUEST COMMENT: A career break is not career death

We’ve recently placed a number of candidates who for different reasons had taken a prolonged break from work. In one case, someone had taken six years to be with their family, had modest expectations of what job they might get on their return, and was quickly placed in a role in product control with a much higher salary than anyone had expected.

Though it is only human nature to worry about how a break will appear to a prospective employer, at a time when more job losses are likely, it’s worth remembering that a career break does not have to mean the end of a career.

Some of the reasons for this are practical.

Very few people were hired between 2008 and 2009 so there is a significant shortage of candidates who have one or two years’ experience. By hiring someone who took a career break, an employer may get a candidate with five or six years’ experience. Whilst this may not be recent, employers know that a person doesn’t lose their knowledge when they take a break. In the current skills shortage this creates a fresh pool of talent which fills important gaps.

But employers also see softer benefits. Taking a career break can often lead to new skills that others may not have, especially in terms of dealing with people and making decisions.

If you take a break to care for a family, it can make you a stronger, more confident communicator who is better able to work either as a team member or as a manager.

If you take time out to travel, volunteer or pursue a life ambition like walking across a continent, this brings valuable and rare knowledge and perspective – as well as showing determination.

This is also true if you’ve set up a business or turned a hobby into a business. It gives you knowledge of the bigger picture of running a company which others may lack.

Some career breaks aren’t planned, but even when they’re not, there is still the scope to use that time to build new skills which may lead to an even better career in the future. Regardless of why you put your career on pause, the benefits are still the same – you get time to step away from the rat race and replenish.

Be aware, however, that some factors may make your re-entry into the market harder than anticipated. In particular, the use of online job boards and search engines means your CV may not get picked up as quickly as it should. This is because ‘recent employment’ is often used to filter a large database of CVs into a manageable selection.

A career break is not a career end. However, for this to work you will need to find a sympathetic recruiter who can push your case. Don’t just rely on getting your CV ‘out there.’

Comments (19)

Comments
  1. Ok Mr. Bath. You’re entire article can pretty much be summarised with one sentence: “However, for this to work you will need to find a sympathetic recruiter who can push your case.”

    Value-adding? Really?

    I rest my case.

  2. Sympathetic is not the adjective I think of when it comes to recruiters. The words uneducated, unethical, zero value, foolish give a more accurate description of recruiters.

    The craziest thing a finance professional can do is rely on recruiters. Make direct applications, banks will be glad to hire you directly, without having to pay for the “services” of recruiters.

    Investment Banker Reply
     
  3. Hilarious. This guy clearly hates recruiters… and is clearly always on a recruitment website… this leads me to the following deduction – that Investment Banker is unemployed and cannot get a job – he is blaming recruiters for this and now decides that he will no longer use them. This clearly still isn’t working for him as he is constantly commenting on this website!! Investment Banker you really come across as a bitter unemployed dragon of a banker who is obviously too “over the hill” to be considered for anything interesting…

  4. A VERY GOOD PIECE. IT IS A SCENARIO THAT CAN HAPPEN TO ANYONE OF US . YOU NEED TO SPREAD THE WORD TO FELLOW RECRUITERS.

    HUMAN RESOURCES, DIRECT EMPLOYERS, HEADHUNTERS, ETC. WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON THIS?

  5. .A VERY GOOD PIECE. IT IS A SCENARIO THAT CAN HAPPEN TO ANYONE OF US . YOU NEED TO SPREAD THE WORD TO FELLOW RECRUITERS.

    HUMAN RESOURCES, DIRECT EMPLOYERS, HEADHUNTERS, ETC. WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON THIS?

  6. A good recruitment consultant will add value in many ways, not least leading salary and package compensation negotiations (enablling you to sit behind them while they front your crazy demands with a straight face !) plus they have knowledge of what is on-market and what the trends are re guaranteed bonuses, sign on fees etc etc – not many recruits have this knowledge or ability. By way of comparison, there’s a good reason premiership footballers do something similar !

  7. @ investment banker
    @jwkt05

    Very predictable rants from you both. Par for the course really.
    I actually feel sorry for you both. You are obviously both quite bitter and twisted. Get over it.

    Can I suggest you both try putting a little more positive energy into finding a new job instead of haunting this website with your rancid bile.

    Honestly, the hypocrisy of someone who claims to be an investment banker describing other professions as “unethical, zero value, foolish ” !

    Have you been living in a cave for the past 3 years ?

  8. I take my hat off to you Investment Banker. At last, someone who is talking sense and clearly sees the full picture. You’ve cheered me up Investment Banker, have a good day. Cheers

  9. Life in a small provincial town is not so bad.

  10. I do not hate recruiters. Believe it or not, there are exceptional recruiters out there, like the one who called me this week: : the guy in question managed to say TWO meaningful sentences. I was impressed.

    Investment Banker Reply
     
  11. @ recruiter

    I have to step up and defend jwt and investment banker. I hear and appreciate the point of view of the recruiter.

    Let’s call a spade a spade, dish the dirt – and this is the question.

    HOW LONG DOES ONE NEED TO BE UNEMPLOYED BEFORE THE RECRUITER/ HEADHUNTER/ ETC WILL NOT CONSIDER THE UNEMPLOYED AT ALL?

    THUS THE WRITER OF THE ARTICLE IS “SYMPATHETIC” TO THE UNEMPLOYED, ARE YOU?

    HERE IS YOUR CHANCE TO CHANGE THE MINDSET OF THE INDUSTRY AND TAP INTO THE UNEMPLOYED TALENT!

  12. @ DK – Cover major gaps in your employment in a creative way. Don’t say you were travelling since that is not credible. You must say you were employed and make sure you can support your story with documents. I can obviously not go into details on this site, but if you are a banker, you must be creative enough to come up with a solution. We live in a ruthless world, if you have been out of employment for a year or more should use unusual methods to secure a job. Otherwise your survival is in doubt.

  13. @DK – I have placed 20 plus candidates in the past 2 years who have been unemployed for between 3 & 30 months. So yes I am very sympathetic.

    On most occasions I have had to spend hours coaching the applicants on how to interview effectively and manage expectations.

    I like and want to work with people who are looking for re-entry. For it to work there needs to be mutual respect between the recruiter and the candidate. I have spoken to many many unemployed people in the past 3 years, sadly many have the same attitude as “Investment Banker”. I won’t work with people who don’t respect me.

  14. Recruiters talking about the need for mutual respect? They are the ones who treat others with disrespect and what they get in return is the same or even stronger disrespect.

    Let me tell you guys what recruiters mean by “managing expectations”: you are worth 100K and they are pushing you hard to accept a job that pays only 50-60K. They will tell you that you have been out of the market for a while and there are many unemployed bankers who are ready to take the job you are reluctant to accept. When I ask such recruiters why they are pushing me so hard if they have other more willing candidates they start feeding me BS.

    I started making progress in my job search after I decided to cut all contact with recruiters.

  15. Recruiters are unprofessional. The most unprofessional of them is Fred Bayr. Investment Banker – you sound as if you’ve had one too many run in’s with the Fred Bayr’s of this world.

  16. @ jobseeker – I am assuming that if, as you claim, you have at some time managed to convince an employer that you are worth a six fugure package, that you will also have at least a basic grasp of the economic principles of supply and demand.

    I am also assuming that if your previous employer believed you were worth the six figures you claim to be entitled to that you would be a “jobdoer” not a “jobseeker”.

    Please carry on as you are. I am happy not represent you and your massive ego. You massive plumb.

    a recruiters friend Reply
     
  17. @ Jobseeker.
    100k or 50-60K or 64.50 per week. Sorry, get your Speak and Spell out and do the maths. What is one is worth? Parallel it to a equity stock. It is only worth the price that one is prepared to pay for it supply and demand.

  18. Actually an article that gives me hope . . . . .

    Done all that, set up some companies, turned hobbies into business, networked etc But still looking after 2 years . . . . .

    beginning to think that my ‘career break’ has now become ‘early retirement’ . . . .except there is no pension coming in and no cruise booked!!!

  19. banking carer

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