“If you had spoken to me this time last year, I never would have believed I would be in the position I am in now.“
Whether you’ve been out of the workplace for one year or many years, the thought of restarting your career can be daunting.
The following 10 tips are directly inspired by our library of success stories of people like you who have taken time out from work only to return stronger than ever.
Read on and you never know where you might be this time next year.
1. Prepare to step out of your comfort zone
No-one can deny that rejoining the workplace after an extended leave is a scary prospect, but it’s also an exciting one. Push
yourself out of your comfort zone and you never know what might happen. What have you got to lose? Read Natalie’s story
2. Shape the narrative of your career break
There are as many career break stories as there are returners, and you are the only person who can tell yours. Think about all of the skills you have built up in your time off work, and how they could benefit an employer. You don’t need to make excuses for your career break or try to hide it; it could actually end up being your biggest asset! Read Fiona’s story
Take time to have a serious think about what you want from a job, and consider how much flexibility and support you would need. It’s important to have those conversations with potential employers upfront to avoid conflict and frustration further down the line. Don’t forget that you’re assessing companies for their suitability just as much as they’re assessing you. Read Clare’s story
It’s never too late to learn something new. Whether you want to update your existing knowledge or head off in a different
direction, there are more study options now than ever, including short courses, distance learning and on-the-job training. It’s worth taking the time to do your research, such as looking at job adverts to find out which qualifications potential employers are looking for. Read Carolyne’s story
If you feel like you’ve got a gap in your knowledge, then another option is to find someone to bring you up to speed.
You’re bound to have a contact in your industry who could help, either from a previous job or your studies. Don’t be afraid to reach out, e.g. on LinkedIn, and tell people what you need without worrying about what you can offer in return. These same networks can also point you in the direction of opportunities and could even open a door for you somewhere along the line. Read Carolien’s story
6. Apply your skills in a new field
Taking time out from work can provide you with the distance you need to come back with a fresh pair of eyes and reassess your career plan. This could be the perfect opportunity for you to move across to a new area. Take some time to look around, talk to people, and see what’s available. Read Maria’s story
7. Find your tribe
If you’re unsure about how to explain your career gap, worried about the practicalities of juggling family commitments with
a new job, or suffering from a lack of confidence or direction, you could benefit from some career coaching. (find out about Women Returners coaching here). Read Kate’s story
If you’ve been out of the workplace for a long period, a volunteering role in your sector will bolster your CV with recent and
relevant experience, bring you up to speed with new developments and provide you with references and new contacts in your industry. Some roles provide training too. Read Antje’s story
It’s all too easy to lose confidence and feel demoralised when looking for a job using traditional recruitment routes if you
have a non-traditional career path, but with more and more companies coming around to the benefits of offering returner programmes and/or flexible working, there are new opportunities available all the time. And one of them may well have
your name on it! Read Anna’s story
If you have decided to make the move back into the workplace this year, or you’re simply considering your options at the
moment, make sure you’ve signed up to our network (sign up here) to get return-to-work advice, support, information and opportunities.