By Lindsey Baltz
Returning to the workforce after extended leave is not an easy process for anyone, but it can be especially challenging for women. With technology moving faster every day and the skills gap getting bigger the longer you’re out of the workforce, women returning to the workforce after an extended leave may worry that they won’t have the skills necessary to keep up with the ever-changing landscape.
While these are valid concerns, you can set yourself up for success for returning to work by thinking through them critically before embarking on the job search.
Here are some examples of how you can return to work after an extended leave:
- Think about why you left in the first place. Was it to raise a family, or did you take the time to travel the world? Your reasons for leaving can help you think about your values and how those affect your work choices. Knowing your values will help you find the right career to re-enter into the workforce.
- Think about your skill sets. Leaving work to pursue personal ventures is a brave decision, just as the decision to go back to work is. Don’t think of your time off as not being applicable to the work you’re trying to get back into. Managing a family or travel budget is a skill set and teaches you the skills of creating (and staying on) budgets and managing other people’s use of funds. Figure out how to play up these and other skills on your résumé and in job interviews.
- Think about what activities you did. You may not have gotten involved in organizations while out of work (and that’s okay! See above to think about the skills you learned in your time off), but if you were a volunteer, think about your experiences and any leadership you undertook. They show great initiative, interpersonal skills (communications, teamwork, etc.) and a commitment to bettering your community—again, all great aspects that an employer will want to see.
As you’re trying to re-enter the workforce, remember that there are a lot of others like you. Reach out and network with other people who have re-entered the workforce to see what first-hand knowledge they have to share.