How to show the benefits of a career break

by May 23, 2023

Show the benefits of a career break

Many people would like to take a career break for a range of reasons but are reluctant to, so here are some benefits of a career break.


Many people would like to take a career break for a range of reasons (see below) but are reluctant to. Others are forced to by circumstances beyond their control.

Employment bias exists and many people view a period out of non-revenue generating work (note I haven’t said work) negatively.  In the recruitment process, it can raise concerns around career history that are not based on fact. This could be about the level of your motivation, commitment, or ability to stay employed.

At one time some even saw a career gap as a red flag if it coincided with a recession or economic downturn because it suggested that when someone was laid off, it was somehow their fault.

Let’s be absolutely clear. These views are biases and should be challenged at every turn because there are demonstrable benefits of a career break.

Downsides of unemployment bias

The impact of unemployment bias on a gap on a CV can be significant. Recruiters and hiring managers are more reluctant to process job seekers with career breaks through the recruitment process, even if they have the necessary skills and experience for the role.  This can extend their time out of work exacerbating the problem even further.

The tendency has always been to focus on fixing job seekers rather than recruitment bias.  At a time of global skill set shortages, it’s time for employers to recognise and address their own biases. They need to evaluate candidates based on their skills and potential, rather than on their employment history alone.

Having said that job seekers should also make an effort to showcase their commitment, abilities, and the benefits of their particular career break. They can’t expect recruiters and hiring managers to understand instinctively and guess the benefits of what they have been through. New experiences means new perspectives and skills to allow you to think more creatively, and be of greater value to a prospective employer.

Worth a read: Basic tips to Design a Diverse and Inclusive Recruitment Process – 3 Plus International

Reasons why people take career breaks

Sometimes career breaks are planned and some are not, but whatever the circumstances a career break can boost a career and present an opportunity for personal growth.

What we need to do is re-frame these “non-revenue generating” experiences and focus on the positive elements of a career break and how it can re-boot your career end even put you on a  different path.


  • Raising a family

We have written that the responsibility of raising a family requires a huge number of transferable skills. To quote Pamela Anderson “I am the mother of two small children, I don’t take as much crap as I used to.”  



  • Further education

A period of personal development in further education can only add value. I would also suggest including this time in your career chronology as well as your Education section.


  • Self-care

When you commit to taking care of yourself you can recharge and refocus your energy, to become more productive and engaged when you return. This can help you achieve your goals and advance your career. You might want to take a “grown up gap year” involving overseas travel or pursue other life-enriching activities. Sometimes it can simply be a workplace detox to get off the corporate treadmill and clear your head.

Some organisations even give senior employees the opportunity to take a sabbatical for the specific purpose of recharging to come back revitalised and reinvigorated.

  • Elder or other care

In a time of ageing populations and reduced access to care facilities, many employees will face the challenge of elder care. Employers are going to have to start to recognise this.


  • Health issues

This is always a sensitive issue and it is not necessary to give out private medical information simply to reinforce your readiness to renter the workforce. The best way is to emphasise how you focused on your recovery and self-care, while staying up-to-date with industry developments. You can mention any skills you acquired or projects you worked on during this period, such as online courses or remote freelance work that you were able to handle while on sick leave if that was possible. Many people are too sick to do anything at all. Recovery should be your foremost concern.


  • Trailing spouse

Sometimes people give up their jobs to follow a partner to a new location. I’ve done it myself and the experience was invaluable, especially with international relocation. Before you agree to it make sure you have a plan and support in place to help you thrive in your new location.


Benefits of taking a career break

Taking a career break can actually be beneficial not just for your career but for you as a person. Many of these experiences can produce moments of deep reflection, self-awareness and personal evolution. Make a note of the impact your particular career gap had on you, how you changed, what you learned, and be prepared to discuss this in an interview.

Taking a career break can help you develop new skills, gain new perspectives, recharge and refocus, to pursue personal goals. Sometimes becoming other-centred can give great insights especially when leading a team or dealing with people and challenging situations. At times we also need to focus on ourselves so we can be there for other people in the future.

All of these can make you a more valuable employee and help boost your career in the long run.

Do you need help refocusing your career?  Get in touch with us today!


Staff Writer: Career Contributor
3Plus welcomes any writers to join 3Plus as a Staff Writer. If you are an expert in Job Search, Career and Mentoring or just want to share your experiences, contact us! We would love to give you a voice!

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