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Looking to return to work? Read these tips for women returners

Looking to return to work? Read these tips for women returners

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The traditional workplace is changing, as are expectations of a linear career path. Therefore, taking a career break is a fairly standard occurrence, and is encouraged and of course expected. Nowadays, many organizations actively recruit and support women returners

Starting a family is one of the most common reasons women take a career break - but studying for a degree, traveling the world, focusing on wellbeing, learning a new skill, refocusing on professional goals, or even just taking some time out are all equally valid reasons. Plus, not all career breaks are voluntary. Redundancy, ill health, or caring for a relative can all force someone to step away from their professional working life.

With decreased stigma worldwide around career breaks, the thought of re-entering the workplace can still be intimidating. You might be worried that your career won't survive, that your skills have become irrelevant, or that you'll find it hard to compete with other candidates who boast CV continuity. What if you don't feel confident about your performance to date? What if you can't justify your career break to a new employer?

Don't worry - the right knowledge, preparation, and decision-making can smooth that transition between taking a break and returning to work. Making it easier to pick up where you left off, here are some very practical career tips to help you return to work.

Be clear about your goals

Take time to clarify your career goals and what you want to achieve in your professional life. What business purpose truly interests you? This can help focus your job search to make more informed decisions about the range of job opportunities that come your way.

Be confident in your abilities

It's natural to have some self-doubt after a career break, but remember that you do have valuable skills and experiences. Believe in yourself and your capabilities, and don't underestimate the knowledge and expertise you gained before and during your career break.

Seek out employers with returnship programs

Many organizations offer career returnship programs, and many are designed specifically for women returners. These programs can provide helpful training, mentorship, and a supportive environment to help women returners transition back into the workforce.

Build a strong support network

Surround yourself with a supportive network of individuals who understand your journey and can provide guidance and encouragement. Connect with other women returners, join professional associations, and consider finding a mentor who can provide valuable insights and support.

womenreturners networking

Be open to skill-building opportunities

If there are any gaps in your industry knowledge or skills, be proactive in addressing them. Take advantage of online courses, workshops, or certifications to help update your skills and stay relevant in your industry.

Consider volunteering or internships

If you're finding it challenging to secure a full-time role immediately after a career break, consider volunteering or taking on internships in your field of interest. This can help gain work experience, build connections, and demonstrate your commitment to your chosen industry.

Negotiate for flexibility

As you explore job opportunities, don't be afraid to negotiate for flexible work arrangements that suit your needs. This could include options like part-time work, remote work, flexible hours, or job-sharing. Assess your priorities and advocate for the work-life balance that aligns with your circumstances. And remember, many of these flexible working arrangements are available with Prime Employers for Women

Stay updated on industry trends

Stay informed about the latest developments and trends in your industry. Follow industry publications, join relevant online communities, and participate in webinars or conferences to stay current. This knowledge can certainly help you have meaningful conversations during job interviews and demonstrate your commitment to staying abreast of industry changes.

women returners career tips

Emphasize transferable skills

Highlight transferable skills and experiences from before and during your career break. Even if you're shifting industries or roles, many skills such as leadership, communication, project management, and problem-solving are valuable across different areas.

Take care of yourself

Returning to work after a career break can be demanding, so prioritize self-care to maintain your wellbeing. Manage your time effectively, practice self-care routines, and seek support from family, friends, or support groups as needed.

Ready to return to work after a career break? 

Look to these prime employers who are actively recruiting women returners. 

These employers help women at all stages of their professional journey to find their perfect place in the organization and to take the next career step.

With many industries and job roles to choose from, returning to work is helped through active support from these leading employers. 

Even once you've found the right employer, remember that returning to work is a journey, and it may take time to find the right opportunity.

Stay positive, be persistent, and leverage your unique skills and experiences to make a successful comeback in your career.


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Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.


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