Returning To Work After A Career Break

Returning to work after a career break

It can be daunting to even consider returning to work after a career break. Many women never imagined themselves taking time off from employment when they were planning their futures. Women of a certain generation were sold the concept that they could have it all. In reality, we all have to juggle competing responsibilities. That might mean we take time out to spend time with our children or to care for elderly relatives. Life can throw up some shocks along the way such as illness, disability or redundancy. Whatever the reason for finding yourself at home rather than in the office, here are some tips for getting back into the employment game.

Returning to work after a career break

I think the first reassurance to put in place is that you are not the first woman to face this situation. Talk to friends and family and stories will emerge of other women working their way back to a wage packet. Look online for support for women returners and use social media to get some valuable peer support on this issue. You are not alone. With my degree in Law, I have found myself recently browsing Lawyer jobs online. We all go through this stuff. Even knowing this can help you build up the confidence to get back to work. Bear in mind that many of the people you will be sending your Curriculum Vitae or application form to may well have experience of returning to work after a career break too.

Value your talents and skills

When you return to work, you might be hit with the dreaded Imposter Syndrome. Take a good look at all the things you have done not only in previous jobs but when volunteering or managing a home too. Write them down and ask others to tell you what you excel at too. Write a Curriculum Vitae or refresh your old one. You can make it look really attractive using tools like Canva’s resume maker. We all have a different set of talents and skills. Celebrate yours and then sell yourself to potential employers.

Consider a change of direction

You may have always had a dream job but never pursued it. Now is a very good time to think about making your ideal work scenario come true. Ask for support from family and friends. Network both on and offline. Check out qualifications and  training courses that can take you where you really want to be. There are special courses out there specifically aimed at women returners.

Preparing for the Hiring Process

The first thing you need to do is make sure that your CV is updated and of a high standard. If you need help achieving this, there are companies (e.g. that can help. Whilst you will have to pay for this, it’s worth every penny if it means your CV stands out and you get the job. You then need to think about the interview process. Brushing up your interview skills may help reduce some of the anxiety you feel after returning to work after a career break. Do some research about the company and position you’re applying for, and list potential questions the hiring manager may ask. Practice answering these questions to gain more confidence when you speak.

Brushing up your interview skills may help reduce some of the anxiety you feel after returning to work after a career break. Do some research about the company and position you’re applying for, and list potential questions the hiring manager may ask. Practice answering these questions to gain more confidence when you speak.

Once a potential employee passes the initial hiring process, they will go through a series of checks, including medical exams and, sometimes, a preemployment drug test. You need to make sure you have a clean bill of health and are free from any substances that may lead to failing drug tests. That said, getting a job is not just about having excellent qualifications but also about having the right state of mind and body to work.

Be realistic

You know what time you have available to commit to work. You need to think about things like your commute and whether home-based positions might suit you best. What wage level do you need to have a decent lifestyle? I find so many women underestimate themselves so part of being realistic involves aiming higher than you might think. There is nothing wrong with testing the market to see where you might fit. You may be pleasantly surprised!

Consider counselling

If the mere thought of applying for a job or returning to work after a career break sends you into a panic, consider counselling to help you move forwards positively in life. You may be a negative self-talker but know that with help this can change and then the world really can be your oyster!









Twin Mummy and Daddy

Musings Of A Tired Mummy
3 Little Buttons

Award-winning writer, blogger, social media consultant and charity campaigner. Social Media Manager for BritMums, the UK's largest parent blogging network Freelance clients include Firefly Communications and Save the Children UK. Works with brands on marketing projects. Examples include Visit Orlando, Give As You Live, Coca-Cola and Kodak. Cambridge Law graduate with many years experience working across three sectors in advice, media relations, events, training and project management. Available for hire at affordable rates.


  • The Busy Papa

    I can’t speak for a female point of view, but more generally – I think there is something empowering and liberating about a career change. We are asked to define a path so young and sometimes, it isn’t for us.

  • Laurie

    Wonderful advice, Kate. You are a good encourager! 🙂 I hope I never have to use this advice personally. Now that I’m retired, I can’t imagine all it would take to get back into the workforce again.

  • Simone Ribeiro

    Great post! I like the idea of changing the directing after a a career break. We have more time to think straight when we are out of the work environment for some time. Plus, it’s like you said, it’s the time you also have to improve your skills. Lovely post. Thanks!

  • Talya

    Returning to work after a career break has to be one of the hardest things you can do as your confidence really plummets. One thing I would add to this list is to consider going to see a return to work coach.

  • Mellissa Williams

    I think building your confidence is important after a career break. It’s a good idea like you said to think about the skills you have running a home and managing a family too as these are often transferable skills

  • Eva Katona

    Very good tips. I’m not there yet, but will start to look for a new job later this year. That would mark over 6 years spent out of a workplace so it will definitely be a challenge!

  • Shelley (Wander & Luxe)

    Fab advice – thanks for sharing! We moved from Australia to the UK when I was 20 weeks pregnant and whilst I worked remotely until my daughter was born, I had to give up my job once she was born. I have not returned to work in the UK as yet – we don’t have the family support and the jobs / wages are not what I am used to. Instead I have been working on my blog and trying to make a success of it – for me that would be the dream job of working for myself with complete flexibility. It is still such a struggle for women in the workplace, but wish me luck! x #GlobalBlogging

  • Coombe Mill

    Great advice Kate, I’ve never had time out, but I guess running Coombe Mill is like one long carreer break from my old office based work life. I think I’d definitely need change of direction if I went back #Globalblogging

  • loopyloulaura

    Going back to work after being a SAHM was quite daunting. Being open to change and acknowledging that a change is necessary is qute a big step. Thanks for linking up with #globalblogging

  • Kate (@Newmummykate)

    Great advice Kate, I changed career just before having my children and that was daunting enough. Self belief is so important in this scenario and we should take any help we can, in whatever form that is. Thanks for linking up #twinklytuesday

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