A Guide for Getting Back to Work (Tips & Advice)

Posted: 28 April 2020 at 10:26 am | Author: CAW Business School

Whether you’ve recently been made redundant, have been taking a career break, or are struggling to find a job after a period of unemployment – getting back into work can be challenging.

You need search for suitable roles, write a successful CV, submit a great application – and that’s before you even get to interview…but it doesn’t need to be daunting!

Finding a new job is all about being proactive, doing your research and developing your employability skills. Check out our tips and advice for how to find a new job here:

Don’t just ask how to get back into work, ask what your career goals are

Where do you want this return to work to take you? This is the hardest part of the process, but having a clear understanding of your career goals will focus your job search and identify steps you can take to get there. A few options are:

Same job, same industry

If you’re looking for a similar job to roles you’ve undertaken beforehand, you’ll need to make sure your CV is up-to-date and reflects relevant skills and experience. Alternatively, you may wish to return to a similar industry but in a lower position, with the view to refreshing your skills and moving up at a later date.

Different job, same industry

Gaining a different job in the same industry may involve retraining, work shadowing or working at a slightly lower level than before to begin with.

Different job, different industry

If you’re looking for a complete change in careers, you could retrain, find a voluntary role, undertake a qualification or find an internship to gain some on-the-job training. It may be harder to achieve a career change, but it’s worth the rewards of landing a job you’re super passionate about, so if it’s what you really want – go for it!

Gain careers advice to understand all your options

When it comes to getting back to work, it’s likely you’re looking for familiar roles that directly fit your past roles, skills and experience, but in actuality – many skills are transferrable, so it’s worth expanding your horizons. You can understand more about what kinds of jobs are right for you, and gain the appropriate careers advice by:

  • Making notes on what you liked/disliked about your previous positions
  • Searching through career profiles on the National Careers Service website
  • Undertaking the National Careers Service skills assessment for career suggestions
  • Attending open days and careers events at local schools, colleges, universities, libraries or job centres
  • Contacting a careers guidance organisation
  • Making contact with people already working in the industry to gain an insight into the roles available
  • Speak to friends and family about their jobs
  • Seeking support from an advisor at an employment agency

Basically, seek advice, do your research, get a picture of what’s available and put yourself ‘out there’. Speak to recruitment agencies, make contact with former co-workers or attend networking events.

Make use of social media connections to find a job

Often, finding a new job is as simple as asking your network for help. Asking your industry connections and past team members to look out for relevant opportunities could produce some quick leads and referrals! A great place to start is Linkedin.

Find a mentor who can offer job search support

Do you feel like you need more direction in how to find a job, or want to discuss your wider career options in more detail? If so, have you considered asking someone to be your mentor? From expanding your professional network and making use of practical advice, to exploring new ideas and gaining new skills, you can gain a lot from having a mentor and it could pay off professionally in the future.

Gain some voluntary work  

You may be wondering, what does volunteering have to do with the question of how to find a job? Undertaking a voluntary placement, not only, contributes something good to your local community, but can also make your job search easier by:

  • Boosting confidence if you’ve been out of work for some time
  • Giving you an interesting experience to talk about at interview for a new job
  • Helping to develop the soft skills that many employers look for, such as good verbal communication and interpersonal skills and the ability to work well with others

Take your job search online

Why not take your job search online and ask google how to find a job? We all know online job boards are a great place to accelerate your job search. Large websites such as Reed, Indeed and Monster can bring 1000s of new vacancies to job seekers every single day, at just a few clicks of a button. It’s important to make the most of how useful these spaces can be for getting back into work, by searching for roles and signing up to personalised job alerts to receive relevant vacancies as soon as they’re posted.

Learn a new skill or undertake a qualification

Not having the structure or purpose that a job provides can feel quickly frustrating, but don’t feel disheartened. You can look at it positively – whilst you’re unemployed, you’ll have more time to develop personally/academically by studying or learning new skills. More often than not, your newly acquired knowledge can help you get back into work or pursue a career change. A few places you can go to learn transferrable skills relevant to many industries:

Boost Employability Skills including CV Writing and Interview Techniques

Write a sparkling CV that shows off your skills and experience

When it comes to how to get back into work, your CV is a critical documents to helping you find a new job – and yet it is one of the most difficult documents to get right. It needs to look professional, be easy to read and show off the best of the skills and experience you have accumulated over the course of your career; otherwise you’re selling yourself short. Here some quick CV tips to help you in getting back to work:

  • Avoid predictable claims and buzzwords
  • Order your CV in a logical manner
  • Check your CV for grammar and spelling mistakes
  • Scrap personal information that could be used against you
  • Highlight your skills and achievements
  • Optimise your CV for online job boards and recruitment algorithms
  • Don’t exaggerate or lie about your achievements
  • Tailor your CV to the job roles you’re applying for

Nail your interview by learning key interview skills

It may be nerve-wracking, but the interview is always going to be a key stage in the process of getting back to into work. It is the opportunity to show the employer what you have to offer, and demonstrate how your skills and experience match the role advertised. It is also your chance to get a feel for the employer and find out whether you see yourself working for them. Remember – you’ve made it this far, so it is important you take all the advice you can get and make a good first impression, for example:

  • Get ready and plan your journey to interview ahead of time so you’re not late
  • Turn off your phone and other gadgets so you’re not distracted or disturbed at interview
  • Take time to consider your answers before speaking – you can always ask them to repeat the question
  • Be positive about your experiences, work history, qualifications and achievements
  • Smile and ask questions to
  • Ask for feedback if you’re unsuccessful at interview stage

Don’t give on getting back into work!

Getting back into the workplace after redundancy, a period of unemployment or a career break can take time. Don’t lose hope or confidence if your career and job plans don’t come to fruition straight away – you have a lot to offer and the right job is out there. Give it time and most of all, see it as a process. Good luck!

CAW Business School, based in Godmanchester, Huntingdon (Cambridgeshire) was set up by The College of Animal Welfare in 2012 to offer business and accountancy programmes to those throughout the Eastern region and beyond.

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