How to get back to work after a career break?
Practical tips to help you hit the ground running!
That moment when you hold your baby in your arms for the first time… That moment when she took her first step… That moment when she said ‘Mama’ for the first time… You were there. You were there for all of it!
Now your little one is old enough and it’s time to go back to work again. Compared to sleepless nights and dealing with the demands of your little human, this should be easy… Right?
If you’re feeling confused because your priorities have changed, and this next step isn’t coming naturally, don’t worry. You’re not alone.
Here at The Happy Mondays Co, many of our clients are dealing with exactly this challenge and we have helped countless women get back into the working world, enabling them to land not just any job – but their Happy Job!
So, if you’re a mom struggling to rejoin the workforce, keep reading. This one’s for you!
Before you begin:
1. Get peace of mind!
Before you do anything, work out all the practicalities of child care. Let’s face it, this will take some time and you will want to find an option that you’re genuinely comfortable with. Once this is buttoned-down, you’re all set to get focused and strategic with your career plan.
2. Get clarity!
One of the reasons you’re struggling is because your life has fundamentally changed. Your needs, vision and values may thus also have changed and so your old career may no longer be a good fit.
Sit down and really ask yourself what you want from your next job, what is important to you and what you’re prepared to sacrifice. (For help with this, click here.) Based on this, you can clearly define your job search and find the job you truly want.
3. Update your personal brand!
Once you know what you’re going for, it’s time to refresh your personal branding, including your cover letter, your CV and social profiles – especially LinkedIn. Make sure they are all up-to-date to clearly position yourself for the job you want. (For advice on Personal Branding, click here.)
4. Develop your elevator pitch!
Learn to clearly communicate your professional experience and demonstrate why you are a good fit for the job by developing your own personal elevator pitch. Make sure to include impressive past achievements to validate your experience.
5. Get confident talking about your time off!
Don’t be shy about your time off. Feel empowered! Embrace it and show that you’re super excited about getting back to work, full of new energy, knowledge and ideas. The more honest, confident and optimistic you are about it, the more positive others will be.
Finding a job:
1. Make use of your personal network!
According to research by the Guardian, women who return to work after a career break are 5 times more likely to find work through a contact. So, once you’re done with all the prep work, reconnect with your old colleagues, ex-bosses, friends and other contacts and be clear that you are looking to get back to work, sharing what you’re looking for.
2. Meet kindred spirits!
Go out and meet other working moms or recent returnees. Learn from them how they succeeded and see if they can make some introductions for you.
3. Reach out to decision-makers!
We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again: many of the best jobs are never advertised! So, go beyond job boards and learn how to tap the hidden job market by reaching out to the people that can actually get you a job at the company you want to work for: your future boss and/or your future colleagues! Learn how here.
1. Be proactive about updating your skills!
If you’re feeling out of touch with new practices and industry trends, reengage with your specialism by attending industry events, taking part in short training courses and reconnecting with others in your field.
2. Be pragmatic, if you’re considering a career change!
If you’re seeking a change, which many people are at this stage, be pragmatic and think about how you can work towards your goal. For example, if you want to work at another company in another field, joining that company first in a role you have experience in, may be a great first stepping stone.
3. Get an accountability buddy!
Having someone to share this journey with is a great way to ensure you stay motivated and on track to achieve your goals. Not only can you support each other on this path, but also celebrating success together will be so much sweeter.
We hope you find these tips and tricks useful to succeed in your job hunt. Whatever you do, remember, many, many people have been on this journey and have made it. If they can do it, so can you!