Why LinkedIn's Career Break Feature Is So Needed Right Now

It's normalising taking time off for bereavement, burn out, parental leave, a gap year and more.
You can include a gap year on your profile now.
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You can include a gap year on your profile now.

LinkedIn is being praised for adding a new feature to its website, enabling users to proudly list career breaks in their work history.

The employment-oriented service included the feature to offer some context to those who take a hiatus from the workplace.

Many who take a break from employment can often pick up skills that recruiters look for, but without the context of a traditional work space.

The move comes as an attempt to normalise the positive aspects of taking a break – which can sometimes come with a stigma of being ‘lazy’ or ‘unmotivated’.

The option allows people to give an insight into why they were away from the workforce, including bereavement, caregiving, a gap year, layoff, burn out and parental duties, among others.

And as many prioritise their wellbeing over work (let’s not forget that thousands of people quit their jobs last year, dubbed The Great Resignation), other non-traditional reasons are included in LinkedIn’s new feature.

These include health and wellbeing, personal goal pursuit, travel and voluntary work, all of which is about finding individual meaningfulness as opposed to serving as a capitalist pawn. This also means that anyone who understandably wants to take a time out to recover from the pandemic now has means to explain what prompted a gap in their resume.

The website wants to show that important milestones – or just time away to focus on yourself and process your emotions – are not just ‘wasted’ time and can help you grow as a person.

LinkedIn also commissioned research into the area to find how career breaks impacted people.

From a survey of 23,000 workers and over 4,000 hiring managers, they found that 56% of employees say they acquired new skills, or improved existing ones, during a career break. Meanwhile, 54% of women who took career breaks say they are better at their job than they were before.

It’s not just beneficial to the worker either, as employers also realised the benefits of these hiatuses.

Almost half (46%) of employers believe candidates with career breaks are an untapped talent pool and 51% of employers would likely call a candidate back if they knew the context of why they took a break.

If you are currently on a leave, or will be soon, you can add this to your profile. Simply click on ‘add section’ and ‘career break’ – it will allow you to input the dates as well as a description if you feel comfortable.