• Jessica Gilbert

Returning to work after a career break? These 5 tips are for you:

Are you a mom who has taken a career break and are now looking to return to work? The prospect can feel daunting. You may not know where to begin, worry that your skills are outdated, and struggle with how to address the gap in your resume. These concerns are valid, but they are not insurmountable. With the right preparation and planning, you can find a role that fits.

For some women, returning to work means going back to their pre-baby job. For others, their career break offers an opportunity to pivot and redirect. Before diving into your search, do some internal and external research to narrow your parameters.

Don’t assume that your most recent job will still be a good fit. You may want to utilize other skills, work in a different type of environment, or seek a more flexible schedule. When you feel ready to move forward, these tips can help guide your search:

1. Figure out what’s driving you. Take a mental step away from your work history, what you think you’re qualified to do, and what you feel you “should” be doing. Instead, ask exploratory questions to establish what will work for you now. For instance: What is motivating me to go back to work? What would be fulfilling?

2. Know the facts. Decide what you require logistically and financially. For example: What hours will you work, how long of a commute will you accept, and which benefits are priorities? Rank your needs in order of importance. Ask yourself: Which are non-negotiable, and where can I be flexible?

3. Update and modernize your resume and LinkedIn profile. Include volunteering, consulting, committee work, or organizational roles you held during your break. When describing these, emphasize the skills you used and the impact you made. For your LinkedIn profile, use a photo that looks professional, and create a strong headline at the top of your page.

4. Activate your network. Spend less time behind your computer and more time having live conversations. Avoid the “spray and pray” strategy of submitting scores of applications to online postings. Instead, talk to people you know: friends, family, neighbors, former colleagues, college classmates - everyone.

5. Don’t fear the gap. Most women harbor anxiety about how to explain their career break to potential employers. Experts agree that the best way to address it is to be honest, succinct, and confident. Your goal is not to justify or defend your decisions, but to explain why you’re the right person for the role.

Motherhood makes us better multitaskers, highly organized, and adept at prioritizing and efficiency. Know your strengths and never doubt your value ❤️