Having recently celebrated my eight-year anniversary at Hydrogen, here are eight tips I’ve picked up along the way on how to keep yourself employable during a career break whether that be voluntary or otherwise. There is a highly skilled, largely untapped candidate pool currently not in employment and Hydrogen is committed to working with these professionals to reskill and return them to the market.
1. Become a true expert
No matter what stage of your career, there are always opportunities to learn and deepen your expertise. But it’s not just about learning on the job and the training you receive from your employer. I would encourage you to research any relevant courses in your field or events and conferences that you may want to attend. Knowledge is power. Interested in FinTech? Check out MIT’s new FinTech course
2. Time to reskill?
In today’s uncertain world, you’ve got to be adaptable and ready for change. Identify the transferable skill sets you have and how you can add to them. Finding yourself without a job can be a great opportunity to learn the in-demand skills such as big data analytics, project management, cybersecurity or programming that will improve your chances of landing that next role. NTUC U Future Leaders is a fantastic initiative to find out more about what support there is to reskill you.
3. Seek feedback
This is an area that’s often overlooked by professionals. To make real improvements, you need to know the areas you need to excel at, and importantly, how you’re perceived. It’s vital to talk to your network regularly so that you can better understand your shortcomings but also gauge the opinions of others.
4. Volunteer your time
Volunteering offers you the chance to acquire many soft skills, such as team working, communication, time management and delegation. It’s a great way to build responsibility, stay engaged in the working world and make new contacts. If you want to gain self-confidence and many invaluable skills, do something different to your corporate day job.
5. Grow your network
Career advancement is as much about who you know as it is what you know. It’s about building relationships. Even if you don’t see yourself as a natural networker, you need to take yourself out of your comfort zone. Organisations such as the British Chamber of Commerce
host some great events on very relevant topics at low prices, even for non-members.
6. Build a career portfolio
Have you thought about multiple jobs? These roles allow you to use many of the skills that you’ve painstakingly honed over the years. We live in an incredibly mobile world where you need not be tied to one job.
7. Boost your online brand
Social media is the fastest and most efficient way to spread the word about your job hunt and to keep in touch with friends and colleagues who may know of or hear about openings. LinkedIn, for example, allows you to join relevant industry groups and blog – a great way to showcase your expertise. Just make sure you add all relevant keywords so that you’ll appear in searches.
8. It’s your career
Finally, it’s important to remember that there is no career fairy godmother. Whether in employment or looking for work, you’ve got to have the skills that meet market demand. If that means retraining, reskilling or going on self-funded courses, then so be it. Remember, you’re investing in your future.