It’s a fact of life. Lots of women – with steady or even flourishing career paths – choose to take time off for being a full time parent. Taking a step away from work to raise a family can be matter of both great pleasure and some personal sacrifice.
A few years later, you want to return to the workplace for any number of reasons.
But, oh the challenges!
The working world feels changed after a lot of years, as might your industry. Skills become outdated, new ones need time to acquire and then there is that crisis of confidence.
Once you overcome all this, your years away might still mean that the employers are willing to hire you for a lot less than your experience or talent deserve. But don’t lose heart. Or hope, for that matter.
Returning to work after a break needs your best strategy and some tenacity but it’s doable. Absolutely.
Rediscover: Things change and so might you.
Many women find that their career preferences are different after a passage of time. Sometimes that can be a wonderful thing – building upon recent experiences or interests is a fairly sound tactic. A friend who stepped back from a career in business strategy turned to party planning after her own kids’ unusual party themes were a big hit.
Find the Best Fit
Figure out your requirements first. Do you have time or flexibility constraints? Are you open to travel or even a longer commute? Do you have a support system in place for those sick days or when unexpected time challenges throw off your routines?
Brush Up: Information is Key
A few days of online research should tell you a lot about the trends in your chosen field. Find out who’s hiring and what skill sets employers want. Take a course (or a few) at your local community college or online. It’s great if you can get back in the groove quickly. If not, give yourself room to find the rhythm.
Reach out, Network.
Get in touch with past employers, connect with old bosses and colleagues. If you had good working relationships, chances are it’ll open a few doors or atleast get you useful pointers.
Your social media profiles give you visibility. Register your resume on recruitment web-sites and check back regularly. Tell family and friends that you are actively looking for work.
Volunteer: Gain experience, if not money.
If job opportunities are not forthcoming, offer to work for free for someone in your line of work. Even as a stopgap, you will acquire valuable experience and potentially a useful reference for the next job.
Be patient: Sometimes it’s a matter of chance. Or the Economy.
A woman I knew found work in the Social Services industry without much relevant experience, but another struggled after a fresh Master’s degree due to a hiring freeze in the industry. But she actively volunteered, picked up a simple job and relentlessly hunted till she nabbed a meaty role with good money.
So what are you waiting for – dive right in. Do your homework, ask the key questions, talk to the right people. The rest is only a matter of a little time.
Pooja Krishna is an Entrepreneur, Consultant and Mom. She has worked both in large corporates and managed startups over the last 20+ years. A co-founder of Maroon Oak, she’s also founded Win Thinks, a small business consulting company, and Trading Paces, which educates amateur and pro stock traders. She blogs and teaches workshops about Brand Strategy, Social Media & Future ready Career Solutions. She loves being a Classroom Mentor and teaching students across the U.S. about Job Skills and Entrepreneurship.
A trivia buff and yoga & hula hoop enthusiast, Pooja loves spending time with her family playing board games and watching documentaries.
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Nicely written! One thing that worked for me was talking to as many people as possible. After 5 years out of the workforce, and knowing that I did not want to go back to the financial world and its stress and long hours, i had no idea what to do. I found my way at a dinner party as I was complaining that i was bored out of my mind. I started small, with barely any experience in the new world, but willing to put in the hours it to relearn some essential skills. Talk to as many people as possible and be open to new ideas.