Katie Dunn is founder of the Back to Business Women’s Conference, which provides resources for women who want to reenter the workforce after time away. The next conference is Sept. 23 in Raleigh.
Parents and caregivers returning to the workforce after taking a career break are, let’s face it, looking at a special kind of challenge. But in that challenge, I promise you, there are lots of opportunities for growth and happiness! You are starting a new chapter in your life and a new stage of growth for your professional self as well as for your family.
To help you embrace the challenge, here are the A, B, C’s of restarting your career:
A – Ask! Ask your friends, neighbors and previous colleagues for referrals, information about job openings at their companies and introductions to people they know who can help you job search. Don’t try to go it alone – you’ll need people to advocate for you to help your application get noticed.When you’re returning to the workforce, you’ll get farther by telling your story to another person than you will by applying to a job without a connection. But it all starts with an ask.
B – Be ready to provide a brief explanation of how you spent your time out of the paid workforce. Draft a 1-2 line statement in which you acknowledge your career break, share the reason for your break, highlight a work-like activity you did while on your career break, and express your readiness and excitement to return to the workforce. Don’t apologize for your career break: Stepping out of the workforce is a perfectly valid career and life choice!
It might sound something like this:
“I left the workforce 5 years ago to care for our children and have been volunteering at their schools where I was on the PTO for 2 years, leading projects and communications between parents and teachers. I enjoyed that time, and now I’m excited to return to paid work. I’m confident I’ve got the skills and experience to do this job.”
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