Taking a career break? Consider these helpful tips

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Balancing the commitments of both work and family can be a struggle for many women. As a result, you may choose to take a break from your career to stay home and raise a family or care for an elderly parent or relative.

Whether you are taking a break for just a few months, or many years, there are things you can do now to help make it a bit easier to jump back on the career track later.

Stay connected
Having relationships with former co-workers allows you to maintain your networking connections and stay on top of developments in your former workplace or industry.

  • Make sure you have a presence on professional social media sites such as Linkedin
  • Enroll or become a member of relevant professional associations
  • Attend industry events and trade shows that are open to the general public
  • Consider part-time/consultant work within your particular industry or field of expertise

Keep up-to-date on your job skills
Avoid letting your skills fall by the wayside by:

  • Reading industry trade journals and publications
  • Taking continuing education classes or enrolling in relevant courses at your local college or university
  • Keeping abreast of the latest technological developments relevant to your field or industry

Look for alternative resume builders
Nontraditional work environments that demonstrate your skills and draw upon your previous work experiences can be used to fill in any significant gaps in your resume. They can also provide you with a source of contacts when you want to reenter the workforce.

Some examples of alternative resume builders include:

  • Teaching a class at a local community college on a subject in your field of expertise
  • Joining a nonprofit board (e.g., library or charitable foundation)
  • Staying active in local volunteer organizations (e.g., parent/teacher groups and sport associations)

Consider an internship
Today, employers recognize the value of hiring women who want to work after taking a career break. These women often have family obligations behind them, along with prior professional experience.

As a result, some companies are offering internship or “returnship” opportunities that provide women with an opportunity to ease back into the workforce. These internships allow employers to test the waters before determining whether someone would be a good fit for a permanent position.

If you are interested in an internship opportunity, many options are available, from informal arrangements with an employer to high-structured returning professional programs that are part of a company’s larger recruiting efforts.

Seek out others in your situation
Remember, you are not alone in choosing to stay at home to focus on family obligations. Consider seeking out support and guidance from other women who have chosen to veer off the traditional career path for family reasons.

Whether you have just made the decision to take a career break, or are looking to reenter the workforce, there are numerous resources available to assist you, ranging from local stay-at-home mom networks to nationwide career re-launching services.

Prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. Copyright 2016.

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