Author Topic: How did you re-enter the job market?  (Read 1974 times)

BlueHouse

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How did you re-enter the job market?
« on: September 24, 2016, 03:56:34 PM »
For those who have taken longish sabbaticals or mid-career retirements, how did you explain your absence and rejoin the job force?  My industry, career, or possibly just my location is pretty type-A and most interviewers don’t take well to hearing “I was burnt out and needed a break”

So how did you explain your absence and make potential employers think you’re a good bet as a long-term, stable, employee? 

ender

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Re: How did you re-enter the job market?
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2016, 04:34:48 PM »
Why would you say "I was burnt out and needed a break" anyways?

There are a lot better ways to say it. Talk about what you did and why it was exciting (not why you left work in the first place).

Make it more type-A. "I had some goals I wasn't going to be able to meet while working fulltime, so I left my job so I could do them" or something.

BlueHouse

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Re: How did you re-enter the job market?
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2016, 05:09:25 AM »
Why would you say "I was burnt out and needed a break" anyways?

I wouldn't say that. I thought that was clear from my asking the question in the first place. There are many things you can say that sound like slacking to someone who has never taken a sabbatical. People who have never been in a position to take extended time off often get envious of those who have done so and attribute the willingness to do so to being unmotivated by work, less of a team player, and other things that get you laughed out of a fast-paced, dog-eat-dog world. So if you say "I had some goals and I couldn't meet them while I was working full time", I might hear "I don't play by your rules and so I took some time off to go play". Yeah, I know. Not a fair paraphrasing, but that happens! 
I took over a year off work once and had a difficult time getting back into a high paying career until I changed the story to include timing that seemed more palatable to hiring managers. I downplayed the aspects that were enjoyable and focused on the productive and difficult portions.
For instance, I had a successful career until the company I worked for closed its doors and shut down. I immediately took another job at a world class company, and 6 weeks later, that company became world famous for a giant fraud and failure and also went out of business.  I had another job offer within a week, but before that materialized, the company went into a hiring freeze. Then 9/11 happened, which made me reassess some things. I had been very active volunteering over the previous few years, and an opportunity came up for me to work on a project overseas, and that sounded like a great way to shake things up even though I knew it was not long term.

By this time in the interview, I've been talking long enough and I'm animated enough, that no one asks details so no one cares that the project overseas was 100%volunteer that was in no way related to my field. They also don't notice that a 1 month assignment turned into 6months of travel.

Now if I'm thinking of taking another break (that may not be permanent), the same reasons and stories would not apply.  So I'm wondering if when others have re-entered their career, did they have to stretch the truth or downplay aspects of their time off?  What reasons were given for long absences, etc? 

In a highly competitive market in an industry where employers expect you to be their wage slaves, if I were to use your example ender, it wouldn't fly because all the hiring manager would hear is "wha!  I needed some 'me' time."  It's important to remember that in some very competitive workplaces, we are seen as the crybabies because we don't think we shouldnt have to work 80hours per week. So sometimes to get the job we want, we have to disguise ourselves as someone who lives for work! 


ender

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Re: How did you re-enter the job market?
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2016, 08:25:00 AM »
Ok.

Good luck.

pbkmaine

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Re: How did you re-enter the job market?
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2016, 08:33:00 AM »
The good explanation would depend on the industry. For software, It could be: "I took time off to work on an app." For finance or accounting: "I started an online business." For creative endeavors: " I went parasailing and wrote a blog about it."

Spork

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Re: How did you re-enter the job market?
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2016, 08:50:33 AM »

In my case, my experience was in a bit of a niche industry: unix admin and network security.

I moved from a big city with many opportunities to a small town that had approximately 4 different organizations where my experience would apply.  (Seriously.  I'm not making up that number.)  It just took a while to get my foot into one of those 4 doors.  When they asked about my resume gap, I just flat told them:  I moved here from BigCity and I have seen about 1 opening every 6-10 months since then.

Goldielocks

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Re: How did you re-enter the job market?
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2016, 10:09:54 AM »
DH went back to school and obtained a 3 year diploma in a field he always dreamed about.  (Robotics / Mechatronix) 
Getting hired out of school, after an 11 year break, was easy in comparison to no school.   Starting wage is low (similar to 24 y.o. starting wages), but the work is interesting and 2 miles from home.