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How to re-enter HR after a career break

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You took a break in your HR career to pursue a personal hobby, or to attend to a personal project like raising children, going back to studying further, or simply to sail around the world. And now you plan to re-enter HR after a career break. How easy or tough is that? In today's economic downturn situation, job hunting or going back to where you were before you took that break, could not have been more challenging. But the idea is definitely not infeasible.

While many employers are open-minded and will not mind an empty period in your HR career path, there are others who ask their recruiting agencies for a tough screening as they have a plethora of resumes with more relevant and recent experience. However, experience in certain key “evergreen” areas of HR, like recruitment and compensation, can be your savior when you plan to re-enter HR after your career break. These are skills that every organization needs, and all the time.

Here are few more tips that you could count on when going back to your HR career:

Find relevance in whatever you did during your career break: Whether it was an educational trip or a volunteering experience for some social initiative, do not fail to leverage on it. There surely will be few hidden achievements in any activity you did during this period. Try to use them when you update your resume this time.

Get an interim role to get to that dream job in HR: It is quite possible that your immediate job after the break may not be where you wish or qualify to be. Take a stand-by role for some time to add relevant experience in your CV, maybe in a smaller organization. This will help you fill the gap in your resume and give you the confidence to get into the race with current contenders.

Directly approach the employers: In current times, when there are many job-seekers in the market, the employers are spoilt for choice. Directly approach them to get around the rigorous screening procedures by recruiting agencies for the same job.

An opportunity to study further: Often times, a job such as that for HR adviser may require you to add more knowledge and skills to your existing HR skills set. Consider getting a CIPD qualification to get on the right side of the minimum expected HR industry benchmarks or a CPP qualification if you are interested in HR consultancy roles.

Use your network: Employee referrals still play a significant role to fill up positions in organizations. Get back in touch with your ex-colleagues, friends and relatives and update them about your availability to get back in to the corporate world. They can help you with leads or refer you to their own organizations.

Prepare your speech for the next big interview: And last but not the least, give a thought to the important points you will want to pitch during the interview. An intelligent way to handle the gap in your resume will be to quickly get to your achievements in your past assignments, probably with specific examples on how you helped your past organizations tackle difficult HR situations.

Conclusion: Your patience; your ability to positively reflect the assignments you were engaged with, during your career break; and your relentless pursuit to crack an entry back into the corporate world are the ingredients of a perfect recipe to re-enter HR after a career break.
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