Friday 14 June 2013

7 tips for your return to work after a career break

Did you miss Gaby Hinsliff's inspiring article about 'alpha-returners' in Times2 on Tuesday 11th June: "Welcome to the World of the MumBack?" Lots of great  stories of women who have worked their way back up to senior positions in politics, academia and business after career breaks (it's never too late - Professor Margaret Rayman had a 17 year break). The article featured my 'Tips for getting back to the top" which I thought would be a useful to include here, with a bit more detail than was possible in the original.

Tips for getting back to work after a long break

1. Value your skills. For each of your past paid and unpaid roles, write down all the skills you used and make sure these come across clearly on your CV. If you remind yourself of your strengths and achievements you'll start to feel more confident. And you’ll be surprised how quickly your confidence comes back once you get back into work. 

2. Don’t limit your search to advertised jobs. Start with a clear idea of what you want to do, then work out how you can do it flexibly, as this will give you more options and is more likely to lead to a satisfying job.

3. Spread the word. Women returning after a long break are most likely to find a job through their networks. Start with telling your friends, family and acquaintances what you would like to do. Get back in touch with old colleagues and student friends (LinkedIn alumni groups can be very useful here). Make new contacts by joining industry groups, attending seminars and conferences, or volunteering. Tips on telling your story here

4. Update your industry knowledge and find out about current issues by reading articles, checking company websites and LinkedIn sites and talking to people in your sector.

5. Make sure you are ready to go back. There’s no point trying to find a job while worrying whether you are doing the right thing.

6. Don’t be intimidated by technological change; a quick IT course, or any teenager, can get you up to speed.

7. Remember that you are the same capable professional you were before your break - you're just out of practice!

And there are many other tips if you look around this blog, such as coping with lost confidence and guilt, and deciding what to do next. And if you look at our Women Returners website, you can read the stories of women who have successfully returned to work to find more about the different routes back. Do you have any other tips you'd like to share?

Posted by Julianne


  1. Worth tips for me, because I am looking for a new job these days after two years back.

  2. Good luck with your return to work. Let us know if there are any tips or topics you'd like us to talk more about in future posts. Julianne

  3. Definitely career break in the biggest problem for those who had career break. I think this is the right post to correct our mistakes.

  4. Glad you find this post useful. What else would be helpful? Katerina


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