When you think of a person re-entering the job market after a year or two’s break, you often assume that they’ve taken some time out to start a family or perhaps to care for a loved one.
And, while that may still ring true, it’s not always the case.
Hordes of millennials are choosing to quit lucrative and flourishing careers in order to break the mould and experience a different way of life. Whether that’s to return to university or travel the world, it’s a trend among millennials that seems to be spreading at a rapid pace. So much so that 43 percent of millennials expect to leave their job within two years, according to a recent report by 2018 Millennial Survey by Deloitte.
But what happens when it’s time to return to the world of employment? Amidst a sea of applicants, how can a twenty-something year old with such a significant gap in their CV expect to stand out in a crowd? Turns out, it is possible, and it’s something I’m very familiar with.
Rewind almost three years, and I was living and working as a PR professional at an amazing agency in New York. At the time, however, I felt uneasy yet curious about what else was out there. Fast forward a year, I was knee-deep in mud, surrounded by elephants in a sanctuary in Thailand.
Yet a year into backpacking, the creeping sense of restlessness was setting in once again. This time however, safe in the knowledge I had made the right choice, I began to realise that it was almost time to re-insert myself into reality. Well, sort of.
A few amazing months later I put some more thought into my next step and where the next version of what I would call home might be. Though I knew I had a fantastic opportunity waiting for me back home in New York, if I was really to set course on a new adventure, then I’d need to be able to throw myself into it. So, I settled on the European home of technology; I packed my bags and headed to London.
Regardless of age or prior experience, returning to the job market isn’t easy. This can be even more daunting when you’re hyper-aware of the gaping hole in your CV. So, what can you do to make the process that bit easier?
Research, research, and yes, you guessed it, research some more
It didn’t take long for me to realise that those who say ‘everything is the same no matter where you go’ are lying. It’s a complete fallacy. This rang true in travel, and it certainly rang true when looking for a new opportunity.
Every market is different, and you can’t just look past the differences. You need to respect them and respond. Little things like the different uses of ‘s’ and ‘z’ or using the word ‘football’ rather than ‘soccer’ matter. Acute awareness of subtle nuances in your new market early on will prove valuable down the line.
Plan, but don’t over-plan
You’ve already taken a big leap during your career, so embrace it and treat it as a learning experience.
Take some time and map out what your idea of a positive career move would look like. It might be a carbon copy of your last role, or it might be something completely different. Either way, the best you can do is lean on your experiences and carefully consider all possible options.
Don’t regret your decisions, they’ve got you this far
Taking a break from the traditional confines of a 9-5 is nothing to be ashamed of. It could even have equipped you with the kind of invaluable skills your CV previously lacked – like the art of negotiation or public speaking.
As clichéd as it may sound, unique experiences do tend to lead to undiscovered opportunities. You never know, one quick decision made during your time off may just lead to what you’ve been searching for.
Feeling insecure or uncertain comes naturally to most women in their twenties. And yes, having a gap in your CV isn’t likely to help. But you should never be discouraged from taking a chance on yourself. The best way to move forward is to play on your sense of adventure, take risks and try to progress along the way.
Focus on doing the required research to even out the playing field, and then do that bit more to stay ahead. Embrace your experiences and use them to your advantage. You never know, something you’ve picked up along the way may be exactly what helps you land your next – and hopefully ideal – job.
About the author
Emma is a Programme Manager at Hotwire, a top global communications agency focused on B2B & consumer tech brands. She has over 4 years of experience within the B2B tech sector and is currently responsible for content development, media relations and client services. Prior to her time at Hotwire, Emma worked at an integrated tech PR agency in New York City. https://www.linkedin.com/in/emmayousif/