Reentering the workforce after an extended break can be quite challenging. No one is more attuned to this than the woman who takes time away to have children, care for aging parents, or pursue additional education. It is just harder for some to reenter the workforce than it was getting started the first time.
At the Junior League of Salt Lake City, one of the many things they do to strengthen the local community is assist women entering the workforce for the first time or reentering after an extended break. Some volunteers mentor women reentering the workforce to teach them leadership skills. Others work to provide financial resources or directly donate women’s clothes to Salt Lake City women going back to work.
The organization suggests there are a number of strategies women can employ for smoother transition. Some of the strategies are especially helpful if they are practiced proactively.
Continue to Network
Women who know they are going to return to work after their break can make reentry smoother by also making an effort to continue networking during their time away. Networking keeps a woman connected to others in her industry. Those connections could prove invaluable when the time comes to start looking for a new job.
Networking outside a woman’s chosen industry is also helpful. Making connections through community groups, social organizations, local events, etc. broadens a woman’s horizons and may eventually present new opportunities she never expected.
Staying up-to-date is just as helpful as networking. A good example is a woman taking a break after working 10 years in the IT industry. IT moves at breakneck speed, so she will help her own cause if she continues to stay abreast of the industry while she’s away. Reading articles, keeping up with social media, attending lectures, etc. are all things she can do to make sure she stays on the cutting edge.
Volunteer in the Community
Believe it or not, volunteering can be very helpful in smoothing the transition back into the workforce. Volunteering expands the woman’s vision. It gives her some very important information she can add to her resume, information that will show future employees she cares about having an impact above and beyond her work. Most importantly, volunteering helps to foster personal growth and empowerment. Both are important qualities that make workforce reentry easier.
Work on the Resume
Time spent away from work will undoubtedly be devoted to some other pursuit. However, that time away is also the perfect time for a woman to work on her resume. A resume is the first line of representation when it comes time to find a new job, so it really pays to have a quality document to give to prospective employers.
Women can find plenty of helpful information online to guide them in constructing an impactful resume. At any rate, it is a good idea to create a master document that can be edited and tweaked for different kinds of jobs. In this day and age, there is no need to give every prospective employer every last detail. It is better to give them only the information pertinent to the job being applied for.
Reentering the workforce after an extended break may turn out to be the hardest thing a woman has ever done. At the very least, getting back to work can prove quite challenging. The strategies mentioned here can make reentry a bit smoother. It’s really all about being prepared before that time of reentry comes. The better prepared a woman is, the easier her transition back into the workforce is likely to be.