LinkedIn has introduced a smart new feature that allows users to add career breaks to their profiles. This development marks the latest step in breaking down the stigma around time off work and normalising career breaks as part of a positive life and career journey. The feature allows you to update your professional experience to give details about career gaps, with a choice of 13 different reasons, including travel, career transition, gap years, voluntary work and caregiving. Here, we take a deep dive into this development and explain how to list a career break on LinkedIn in three easy steps.
Why has LinkedIn introduced a new career break feature?
Taking a career break does not carry the same taboo that it once did among employers. Whether you take time off to travel, pursue personal goals, care for loved ones or look after your health, having a gap on your resume is becoming increasingly accepted.
In fact, a growing number of employers are recognising the positives that can be gained from an extended break. At a time when finding a new job is tougher than ever, demonstrating personal and professional development gained from time off can give a crucial advantage.
This can be seen in the sharp rise in companies offering sabbatical leave as a benefit in recent years, and the growth of special programmes to help people transition back into work after a career break.
Our career break interview series features dozens of stories about people who have thrived in their careers after taking career breaks to travel or develop professionally.
LinkedIn has introduced its new career break feature after carrying out a global survey into the changing attitudes about time off work. The results were striking.
According to the findings, more than half of employers said they would be more likely to contact a candidate who provides context about their career break. A significant proportion of employers also recognised the skills that people develop on career breaks, while highlighting that candidates often undersell them.
Not just for parental leave
Conversations about returning to work after a career break often centre on the challenges that women face when resuming a career after parental leave. This is an important focus of LinkedIn’s new feature, but the evidence also shows that the nature of career breaks is diversifying quickly.
While women represent the largest demographic of people taking career breaks, it is perhaps not to the extent you may expect when looking the survey findings. Around two thirds of career-break-related posts on LinkedIn are by women, while only 22% of women cited parental leave as a reason for taking a career break.
This points towards a positive trend that has been advancing for years; people in today’s world are taking career breaks for a multitude of reasons – not just for raising children.
The new LinkedIn feature provides a way to contextualise this and tell a positive story about it, whether your time off is related to parenting, care or something entirely different. Let’s take a closer look…
The career break types you can now list on LinkedIn
The new feature on LinkedIn allows you to add a career break for any of the following 13 reasons:
- Career transition
- Full-time parenting
- Gap year
- Layoff/position eliminated
- Health and well-being
- Personal goal pursuit
- Professional development
- Voluntary work
An open text field allows you to provide a detailed description of your career break. You can set the specific start and end dates, and upload any relevant media files, such as a presentation or video.
How to list a career break on LinkedIn
Listing a career break on LinkedIn with the new feature is quick and simple on either desktop or the mobile app. Here’s how:
Step 1: add profile section
To get started, go to your profile, and select the ‘add profile section’ option. You will see it just below your profile picture:
Step 2: select ‘Add career break’
In the ‘Core’ section, you should see the option to add a career break:
Step 3: enter your career break details and save
This is the most important step. Begin by selecting the relevant career break type from the drop-down menu. Then add the practical details, such as the career break length and location (you can leave this blank if you travelled to several locations during your time off).
Scrolling down, you will see the option to add a description. This is your opportunity to sell your career break to potential employers. Focus on how your time off has made you a better employee, for example through gaining new skills and experiences, or establishing a refreshed perspective.
See our article on how to add a career gap to your resume for an in-depth guide to selling the positives of your time off work.
Listing a career break on the Linked mobile app
The process of listing a career break on the LinkedIn mobile app is equally simple and follows the same three steps, as shown below:
More on travel career breaks and sabbaticals
For more insights into the practicalities of taking a career break to travel, you might also find these articles useful:
- The ultimate guide to taking a travel career break
- How to ask for a sabbatical rom work
- Your survival guide to returning home after a travel career break
Do you have any tips to share on how to list a career break on LinkedIn or your resume? Let us know in the comments below.