Coming back from a career break? Things to consider when applying for new jobs

Blog – job search

So, you’ve taken a career break to raise your growing family, and now you’re ready to get back to work. We know that having a healthy work-life balance is a top priority for most tech returners.

Returning isn’t just about catching up on the latest technologies; you also need to consider your working style preferences. What do you need in terms of role and company culture?

Let’s take a closer look at what should be on your radar on your job search. It’s important to identify companies that not only value your skills but also recognise your unique needs as someone returning to tech.

What to look for…

🏡 Hybrid & remote working: Flexibility in the workplace is now more crucial than ever, especially for tech returners. Look for companies that offer hybrid working models, allowing you to split your time between the office and remote work, or even opt for fully remote work if that suits you better. Negotiating these details during your interviews can help strike a balance that works for you without compromising on the role.

⏱️ Flexible hours can also be life-changing for employees, particularly for returners, as it supports you in managing personal commitments such as school pick-ups or other responsibilities. Picture having the freedom to start and end work earlier or later than the standard core hours. For instance, your company might set core hours from 10 am to 3 pm for meetings and collaboration, but you can choose to start at 7 am and finish at 3 pm— giving you time for the school run or avoiding rush hour traffic.

📆 4 day work week? Some forward-thinking companies are even exploring shorter workweeks—like a 4.5 or 4-day workweek—without cutting salaries. While this perk isn’t widely available yet, it’s a growing trend towards better work-life balance.

Remember, whether it’s about where you work or when you work, flexibility can significantly reduce stress, improve overall well-being, and boost job satisfaction.

Online travel giant, is a great example of a company committed to flexibility. Although they’re not fully remote, their fantastic hybrid and remote working policies have been a game-changer, helping their employees balance their professional and personal lives seamlessly.


⚡️ The importance of an inclusive and supportive culture…

A supportive company culture can truly make a difference when you’re returning to work, especially when it comes to job satisfaction and professional development. You should prioritise employers known for their inclusive and supportive environments.

Positive signs to watch for include companies that value diversity and inclusion, like those with employee resource groups, mentorship programmes, and support for mental health.

Check out reviews on platforms like Glassdoor, browse company LinkedIn profiles, and see how they champion their employees. You could even reach out to current employees to get a feel for the company culture firsthand.

A fantastic example of a brand that champions an inclusive culture is JLR (Jaguar Land Rover). They have established an extensive network of support groups within the company, including the ‘Working Parents Network’ and the ‘Women in Engineering & Allies Network (WIE&A)’, along with nine other networks dedicated to diversity and inclusion. These groups provide vital support to their teams across various areas.


📚 The learning never stops…

Your career break might have left you doubting your confidence and skills. So, brushing up on the latest technologies and trends can really help. When reviewing job descriptions, take some time to visit the company’s website and see what they say about investing in their employees’ professional development through continuous learning opportunities and training programmes.

These opportunities not only help you stay current and boost your confidence but also show the company’s commitment to employee growth.

Check out IBM UK, where employees have access to continuous learning opportunities through their Digital Learning Platform. They offer courses on the latest tech innovations, highlighting their commitment to employee development!


🚩 Avoiding red flags during the interview process…

Many businesses still have a long way to go when it comes to transparency in their recruitment processes. One of the biggest frustrations is companies that don’t share the salary in the job description. We’re tired of companies hiding salaries under the guise of a ‘competitive salary.’ Sharing the salary upfront can save candidates time and prevent you from applying for roles that don’t match your experience and expectations — especially as a returner!

Here are some green flags to look out for:

  • The job salary is clearly stated in both the job description and on the company’s website. Even more importantly, the salary is aligned with market rates!
  • The hiring manager provides detailed information about the hiring stages, timelines, and who will be interviewing you.


💬 Our final thoughts…

Getting back into the tech industry can be intimidating, especially when tackling the job search. Take time to explore company values and prioritise those offering flexible work arrangements, a supportive and inclusive culture, professional growth opportunities, and all the other tips we’ve shared in our blog.

These aspects can make a huge difference in your return-to-work journey!


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