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Back to Work – the Experts’ View

Rayden Solicitors is delighted to have hosted a ‘Back to Work’ seminar today in St Albans with a panel of experts providing some really helpful guidance on what to do after either a career break, or a decision to have a career change, and how to approach the many aspects of returning to work.

It was a very insightful morning for all of us, both the audience and also the members of Rayden’s team who shared their personal experiences of career breaks, job changes and the highs and lows of returning to work.  Everyone agreed that it can be a daunting prospect, working one’s way through the process, writing a CV perhaps for the first time after several years, navigating the new ways of working and how to ‘sell’ oneself for that new career opportunity.

Our audience heard from Deborah O’Sullivan, Managing Director of Ten2Two, experts in professional part-time and flexible recruiting, and Jaqui Winston, an expert CV coach who offers a bespoke CV and LinkedIn profile writing service NewCV.

The discussions focused on recognising what needs to be done when reinvigorating a career or taking on a new work challenge, looking at the practical planning and steps that can be taken to make the process easier and less challenging than it might at first appear. The key take away points from the seminar were:

  • The bigger picture of returning to work can seem overwhelming. Break it down into small, manageable steps and the rest will follow.
  • There is never a perfect time so take a deep breath and make the first step. Be resilient and tenacious – there will be knock backs along the way but keep your eye on the goal.
  • Accept help where it is offered and ask for it when it is not.
  • A lack of confidence after a prolonged period away from the work place is normal. Do not let it deter you.  It soon disappears once you are back at work.
  • Give plenty of thought to what you want to do and do not be afraid to cast the net wide. Look at job adverts and job descriptions for inspiration.
  • If you do not know what to do, invest money in a career coach. An independent and objective point of view and advice can be invaluable.
  • Think about how many hours you want to work and what level of salary you are seeking. Suitable clothes and childcare arrangements need to be considered.  Be prepared to start work at short notice if necessary.
  • Professional skills are important. An internship or volunteering can fill a CV gap and show an understanding of how business operates.  It should be tailored to your skills if possible.  For example, if you are looking for work in the finance sector, managing a finance project for a local charity would be an excellent current addition.
  • Advances in technology can be perceived as an obstacle to returning to work and it is correct that for all office based positions there will be an expectation of a basic understanding of the internet and office software. Be prepared and brush up on tech skills by attending local courses, often free to attend in libraries.  Do not forget that your children are also an excellent source of information on the latest technology!
  • Refresh your industry skills – sign up to newsletters, your professional body, LinkedIn groups and make sure you are up to date on the latest developments.
  • Reconnect with old colleagues and get back into the habit of using professional language. Use your contacts – tell everyone you know about your skills and that you are looking for a job.
  • Use your CV to promote yourself and market yourself as a brand. Formatting is key.  A good CV is a business document and spelling and grammar should be impeccable.
  • Everyone should have a LinkedIn profile, no matter how basic. You are invisible to potential employers without one.

This may all sound like a lot to take in but the real theme throughout discussions was that anything is possible.  Everyone just needs to have confidence in themselves, be realistic about what is achievable and don’t underestimate one’s value to employers – even after a career break we all still have skills and abilities and ‘returners to work’ can be a very compelling prospect for future employers!

We have had some very positive feedback from the delegates who attended the seminar and we will be planning follow up events in the not too distant future.  If you would like to be kept informed about future events please email Emma Kent at


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