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Clueless On Your Career? Sabbatical vs. Career Break

Clueless On Your Career? Sabbatical vs. Career Break

In our dynamic, career-driven society, time often moves so fast that we find ourselves constantly trying to keep up with it. At first, there’s just one deadline, maybe two. Soon, commitments with friends and family start to merge. You run. Nights turn to days as you stay up late, trying to squeeze in more minutes into what’s already gone.

Still you keep going. Until you quickly realize that although your feet are moving, you are not. It’s as if everything and everyone else exists in a place where you cannot follow. And you’re stuck watching them like a reel of film. Just when time feels like it moved again, you fall. Hard, cold, exhausted.

Do you usually wish that you could get up and leave everything behind? Well, not literally, of course. But a break would definitely be nice. Ever heard of the term sabbatical? How about a career break? A lot of people are familiar with these words and even use them interchangeably – but they’re different from each other. Here’s how they can help you catch the break you deserve (and maybe even help you on the road to a better career).

Sabbatical vs. Career Break: Which One Is Better?

“We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you.” – Eric Roth

According to an article by career break coach, Sue Hadden, a sabbatical is a more formal scheme offered by companies to qualified workers.[1] Examples are Nike and Adobe, big corporations that give employees the option of a sabbatical after they have served a certain number of years. It’s like a benefit, similar to getting pension contributions.

This is a good option for those who want to work in the same company or position after a long break.

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Sabbaticals are typically used for:

  • Relaxation from work burn-out
  • Learning/honing new skills
  • Traveling the world
  • Volunteering; or
  • General reflecting

If you’ve been feeling stressed out lately and you’re fairly certain that you just need a long break, ask your HR department about sabbaticals. Depending on your company’s policies, it might be partially unpaid or not at all. Check if you qualify for this perk and you might just fulfill that dream getaway sooner than you think.

Plus, you’ll have the peace of mind that you’ll have a job to come back to.

A career break on the other hand, is typically what you resort to if your company does NOT have a sabbatical policy. This will involve handing over your resignation. The upside is that you’re not tied to the organization anymore, which means you can take your time and hop on the career train whenever you’re ready!

Career breaks are perfect if you want to:

  • Switch to a new career
  • Start a business
  • Go into freelancing
  • Travel the world more extensively
  • Get experience for a job you’re not qualified for yet

For some folks, going on sabbatical was the best decisions they ever made. For others, a career break was the more practical approach. Deciding which one suits your needs best would depend on YOU.

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Think about why you need a break in the first place. Decide for how long you want to be away from work. Then, weigh the pros and cons of your choice.

6 Things To Keep In Mind During Your Break

“I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view.” – Eric Roth

Let’s assume that you’ve made up your mind on which break you want to take. You’re all set: finances are in order, friends and family members have your back, and you’re mentally geared to make this the best experience of your life (so far). Here are six things you need to consider before heading out the door:

1. Always keep your resume updated.

During your sabbatical or career break, new opportunities might come knocking. You want to be prepared for anything. So make sure you take a few minutes to update your resume. List new skills you have gained along the way. Write what you learned on a new section called “Life Experiences”. Pick your words wisely. This time you have all the hours you need.

2. Keep yourself healthy.

If you took a sabbatical or career break due to work burnout, don’t just sit on the couch binge-watching on Netflix! That diet you’ve wanted to try is waiting for you. Stop procrastinating and join your buddy for a jog. Meditate. Relieve the stress you’ve accumulated up to this point.

3. Avoid burning bridges.

Even if you resigned for a career break, do NOT burn bridges. Who knows – you might need those people again in the future. Today, there are various ways to stay connected. There’s social media, messaging apps, and the traditional text or call.

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4. Create good web presence.

As you hop from one adventure to another, make sure you’re also minding what you post online. Whether it’s a sabbatical or career break, you don’t want employers getting the wrong idea. That time you went hiking in Thailand? Cool. How about that binge-drinking session with old college buddies? Not so cool.

Keeping your personal brand in check while out and about ensures that you’ll have nothing to clean up after all the adrenaline has ebbed.[2]

5. Reflect a lot.

If you were used to 80-hour workweeks, you might find it hard to relax and do nothing for the first days of your break. Don’t forget to relish these quiet moments with yourself. Pick up a good book and sit by the window. Take long walks alone. Revel in the fact that for once, you’re not racing to catch up with time.

Imagine your future. Think about what makes you happy. Immerse in the moment.

6. Use time wisely.

It can be tempting to do nothing for days. But before you know it, days have turned into weeks, weeks into months. What do you have to show for your sabbatical or career break? What adventures did you take? What did you learn?

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career-time

    It’s amazing to finally have all the time in the world: but once you have it, what do you do with it? Use it wisely. Even if you’re in a two-year sabbatical, you’d be surprised at how fast time flies.

    If you took a career break, you might be wondering how it would impact your career. While a lot of employers and hiring managers don’t care for gaps in employment history, you should still be prepared for people who won’t be as understanding.[3]

    This is why you should make each second count. Don’t waste your precious time just lounging around (you can always do catch-up marathons on the weekends). The important thing to remember after your sabbatical or career break is that the right job will understand why you wanted the time off.

    For now, don’t sweat about it too much. This is your gift to yourself, remember?

    Sabbatical or Career Break? You Choose

    “I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.” – Eric Roth

    Whether you’re taking a break to take care of your family or yourself, you shouldn’t see it as a luxury. We all need time for ourselves. It’s how we assess how far we’ve come, and where to go next. So avoid feeling guilty!

    Don’t wait until the last moments to truly LIVE.

    Featured photo credit: Adrianna Calvo/Pexels.com via pexels.com

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    Content Strategist, Storyteller

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    Published on August 4, 2020

    36 Important Resume Skills (For All Types of Jobs)

    36 Important Resume Skills (For All Types of Jobs)

    Most jobs require specialized skills. At the same time, there are a lot of resume skills that apply across the board.

    If you’re on the hunt for a new job, give your resume a refresh. Employers want to know: Can you communicate effectively? Are you easy to get along with? Can you manage your time effectively?

    Remember, you may not get a second look. Use your resume to make a great first impression.

    Holistic ability is what employers want to see when hiring. These resume skills can make you a top pick regardless of what role you’re applying for.

    Communication

    Being properly understood is critical. On any team, you must be able to relay and interpret messages with speed and precision. How you describe yourself, the concision of your phrasings, and the layout of your resume are great ways to showcase these skills.

    1. Writing

    Whether it’s emails or official documents, writing skills are essential for candidates in any industry. Clear, concise phrasings minimize misunderstandings and save the recipient time. This is probably one of the most important resume skills.

    2. Verbal Communication

    Speaking clearly and eloquently is one of the first things a hiring manager will note in an interview. Communicating over the phone is commonplace in business. Outline this skill on your resume, and they’ll invite you in to listen for themselves. This is easily one of the most important resume skills in most industries.

    3. Presentation

    Sales pitches and company meetings may include presentations, which require special communication skills. Being able to spearhead and properly carry out a presentation shows organization and resolve.

    4. Multilingualism

    Knowing more than one language can open doors for you and the business you represent.[1] Being able to speak another language allows your company to serve a whole new demographic.

    5. Reading Comprehension

    At any job, employee handbooks, company newsletters, and emails will come your way. Being able to decipher them quickly and effectively is an important resume skill. This goes hand in hand with having excellent writing skills.

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    Tech Savvy

    Technology is evolving rapidly, especially in the business world. Be sure to mention the technologies you’re familiar with on your resume, even if you don’t expect to use them daily.

    6. Social Media

    Almost everyone has some form of social media these days. Companies use platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook to reach new audiences, provide customer service, and build brand loyalty.

    7. Operating Systems

    Can you use a Mac? What about a PC? Most jobs today require the use of a computer. Prior experience navigating common operating systems will help you acclimate much more quickly. This has become an important resume skill ever since the start of the information age.

    8. Microsoft Office

    Of all the software in the world, Microsoft’s Office suite might be the most popular. Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Outlook are widely used in the business world. Having this as part of your resume skills is very helpful especially in certain industries.

    9. Job-Specific Programs

    Did you get the hang of HubSpot in your last role? Is Slack something you’ve mastered? Be sure to mention them on your list of resume skills. These demonstrate that you can pick up new tools quickly.

    Interpersonal Skills

    Despite the rise in technology, businesses are run by people. Working with and for people means you need to be able to handle yourself with poise in different social settings. Highlight roles and situations on your resume that involved tricky conversations.

    10. Customer Service

    No company can succeed without its customers. Being able to treat customers with respect and attention is an absolute must for any applicant. Specific industries regard this as the most important resume skill their prospective employees should have.

    11. Active Listening

    Listening is an underrated skill, especially for leaders.[2] If you can’t listen to other people, you’ll struggle to work as part of a team.

    12. Sense of Humor

    You might wonder why having a sense of humor is a part of your resume skills. Humor is important for building rapport, but getting it right in the workplace can be tough. Everyone loves someone who is entertaining and can lighten the mood. On the other hand, people are turned off by immaturity and inappropriate jokes.

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    13. Conflict Resolution

    A customer stomps up to your desk and starts yelling about a problem he or she is having – how do you handle this situation? The right approach is to work to resolve the situation, not to escalate or avoid it.

    Teamwork

    One of the best parts of any job is the bonds you build with your co-workers. Fostering healthy relationships can make the workspace more enjoyable for everyone.

    14. Collaboration

    Whatever your line of work, chances are good that you’ll be working with others. Being able to collaborate effectively with them is critical if the whole team is to hit its goals. You can use various apps and tools available to help you collaborate with your team.

    15. Leadership

    Even if the title of the job you’re applying to isn’t “manager” or “executive,” there will still be moments when it’s your turn to lead. Prove that you’re up to the challenge, and you’ll be looked at as a long-term asset. Listing this as one of your resume skills is certainly an eye-catcher for most.

    16. Reliability

    Work isn’t always easy or fun. You have to be willing to pull your weight, even when times are hard. Otherwise, your co-workers won’t feel as if they can count on you. Reliability is important in maintaining the cohesion of a team. You should let people know that they can rely on you.

    17. Transparency

    To work as a team, members must be willing to share information with each other. Are you willing to own up to your mistakes, share your challenges, and accept consequences like an adult? Let them know that you’re transparent and reliable.

    Personal Traits

    Your resume is about selling yourself, not just your education and work history. The good news is, your “soft” skills are a great opportunity to differentiate yourself. Use bullets beneath your past experiences to prove you have them.

    18. Adaptability

    In any role, you’ll need to adjust to new procedures, rules, and work environments. Remember, these are always subject to change. Being able to adapt ensures every transition goes smoothly.

    19. Proactivity

    An autonomous employee can get work done without being instructed every step of the way. Orientation is one thing; taking on challenges of your own accord is another. Being proactive is an essential resume skill, especially if you’re eyeing for managerial roles in the future.

    20. Problem-Solving

    When problems arise, can you come up with appropriate solutions? Being able to address your own problems makes your manager’s life easier and minimizes micro-management. Problem-solving is an important yet often overlooked resume skill.

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    21. Creativity

    Can you think outside of the box? Even roles that aren’t “creative,” strictly speaking, require creative thinking. Creativity also helps in your ability to solve problems.

    22. Organization

    Staying organized makes you more efficient and reduces the risk of mistakes. Organization skills make life easier not just for you, but also for other members of your team. This makes it an important skill to put in your list of resume skills.

    23. Work Ethic

    Every company wants hard workers on its team. You’re applying for employment after all, not a place to lounge around. Putting this on your list of resume skills is just as important as actually exhibiting it in the workplace once you’re hired.

    24. Stress Management

    How well do you work under stress? If you’ll be required to meet tight deadlines, you’ll have to prove you can handle the heat.

    25. Attention Management

    Whether you’re developing a partnership or writing a blog post, attention to detail makes all the difference. People who sweat the details do better work and tend to spot problems before they arise. Use Maura Thomas’s 4 Quadrants of Attention Management as a guide to managing attention.[3]

    26. Time Management

    Time is money. The better you are at using company time, the more valuable you’ll be. Show that you can make every second count. Managing your time also means being punctual. No employer wants to deal with a team member who’s constantly tardy. This is commonly included in most people’s resume skills, but not everyone lives up to it.

    27. Patience

    Things won’t always go your way. Can you calmly work through tough situations? If not, you’ll struggle with everything from sales to customer service to engineering.

    28. Gratitude

    When things do go your way, are you gracious? Simply being grateful can help you build real relationships.[4] This also helps foster a better team atmosphere.

    29. Learning

    Employers want to invest in people who are looking to grow. Whether you love to take online courses, read, or experiment with hobbies, make sure you show you’re willing to try new things.

    30. Physical Capability

    Many job postings have the classic line, “must be able to lift X amount of pounds” or “must be able to stand for X hours per day.” Play up past positions that required you to do physical labor.

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    31. Research

    How easily can you dig up new details about a concept? Research skills are critical for marketing, business analysis, writing, account management, and more.

    32. Money Handling

    Being able to count bills quickly and accurately is important at any company with a brick-and-mortar storefront. Integrity and honesty are key when you’re running the cash register or reconciling bank statements.

    Commitment

    To employers, every new hire represents an investment. Are you worth investing in? Prove it. Employers need to see signs of commitment before they bring you on board.

    33. Longevity

    Hiring managers love to see long tenures on your resume. This suggests that you’re in it for the long haul, not just passing through for a quick buck.

    34. Fidelity

    For an employer-employee relationship to work, there has to be trust. Employers tend to find out when someone is hiding side gig or sharing information they shouldn’t be. References from past employers can prove that you’re loyal to companies that hire you.

    35. Obedience

    You won’t agree with every choice your employer makes. With that said, you have to respect your role as an employee. Obedience is about doing what your leader decides is best, even if you have a different perspective.

    36. Flexibility

    Life is full of surprises. A month into your new job, your role could change entirely. Flexible people can roll with the punches.

    Final Words

    Perform a self-audit: Which of these skills will your potential employer want to see? Add them to your resume strategically, and you’ll be that much closer to your dream job.

    Tips on How to Create a Great Resume

    Featured photo credit: Van Tay Media via unsplash.com

    Reference

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