Taking a break from a thriving career to focus on starting and building a family can be such an exciting time. For my go-getter, hustler, career-driven women, I know this can also be an adjustment when taking that step back.
Now that your mat leave is up and you’re ready to return to the workforce, you might realize the adjustment is more difficult than you anticipated.
So where do you start?
If you happen to work in a corporate environment and returning to the same job, your adjustment might look different than someone who is taking a leap a faith and deciding to start something completely different and new. Particularly if you took more than the traditional 1 year of maternity leave (standard in Canada), but perhaps, a couple of years off.
The return can be confusing, difficult to understand where to start, and you may have a slew of other questions you might be challenging yourself with.
How do I re-brand myself when I’ve been out of the workforce for so long?
What level should I be targeting? (you might consider this depending on where you were in your career before you left, etc.)
My resume has a gap in it, how do I best reflect my time off and stand out?
Naturally, the answers and your direction will vary for each of you depending on your needs.
Some of you might want to return p/t, while some might want/need flexible hours, some need something close to home and are not open to a commute, etc. Starting your own business may become an even more attractive option, as a result, to cover off on all these factors, thereby eliminating a traditional job search altogether.
The idea is, you need to get *crystal clear* on what your “must haves” are and what you’re looking for. From there, it will be much easier to target the appropriate opportunities for you and embark on a search.
Often, I’ve had candidates share they had a resume writer put their resume together as they were preparing to embark on a job search. If you do take this route, make sure you know what you’re looking for and what your target is beforehand. No sense in updating a resume to simply look ‘eye-catching’ on paper if you have no idea what you want, right? Work from the inside out.
- Self-reflect – What’s important to you now that you’ve had a child?
- Consider what you loved about your career – industry, role, etc.
- What direction do you want to go in now – take a step back? Go in a new direction altogether?
- Think about your strengths and skills
When it comes to your resume, include the things you’ve been doing while you’ve been off work such as:
- Volunteer work – any charity work, whether you simply participated or organized directly
- Contributing to your son/daughters’ school – PTA committee or other
- Freelance/consulting/project related assignments you did even for a short period of time
- Courses/workshops/conferences that you might have participated or attended to keep up to date with what’s been going on in your industry
- If you contributed to a blog or even started one while you were off to share your insights, etc.
The idea here is you want to be able to highlight anything you’ve been doing in addition to raising a family. Without meeting and interviewing you in person to explain your gap while on maternity leave, your background and experience is what people see on paper, so you want to highlight everything and anything that is relevant.
The little things are important so don’t leave them out!
The transition back to the workforce can be an adjustment regardless of which direction you take. Taking the time to self-reflect, figure out what your vision for yourself looks like returning to the workforce, can help alleviate the stress associated with the lead up when it’s time to go back to work.
If you’ve ever made the transition back to the workforce after a maternity leave, if you found you struggled to make the return, what could have helped with the transition to make it easier for you?