There are plenty of reasons for being out of work for a long period of time. One of the most common reasons among women are family commitments. Some people who have been out of work long term have an easier time than others when they decide to return to work. Their ability to re-enter the workforce in a satisfying job usually has a lot to do with what they did when they were not employed.
If you are among the growing number of women who have it all, but not all at once, these tips will help you to protect your career while you are out of the workforce.
1. Keep Computer and Other Relevant Technical Skills up to Date
A little bit of time out of the workforce and you may find that technology has passed you by. Plenty of jobs require computer and other technical skills today, so if you are going to be out of the workforce for a while, it will be important to find ways to maintain relevant technical skills.
2. Stay in Touch with Business Contacts
Don't lose contact with all of your former colleagues. These are the people who will let you know about great job leads when you are ready to return to work. A phone call, an email or a lunch date here and there will help you to maintain your network of business contacts so they will be there to help you out when you are ready to return to work.
3. Find a way to stay active in your industry while you are out of work.
Yes, you are probably busy, but finding even a small amount of time to be active in your industry will pay off when you decide to return to work. There are plenty of ways to commit just four or five hours a week to being active in your industry if you think you will be out of work for a long period of time.
- You might volunteer a few hours a week for a company in your industry.
- You might freelance or start a very small, part time business related to your industry.
- You might take a route similar to the one I chose. I write online about my field of work in order to be at home with my son, and remain active in my profession.
You do not have to spend endless hours to stay current in your industry. Just commit enough time to stay connected to your field and have a solid answer for employers who will want to know what you have been doing since you left your last job.
In my own experience with working with people who were returning to work after a long period of unemployment, those who had found ways to maintain their technical skills and stay connected to their industry were also the ones who had the easiest time returning to work. A little bit of time invested now will make a big difference when you do return to work.
Recommended resources for return to work moms:
If You've Raised Kids, You Can Manage Anything
Going Back to Work: A Survival Guide for Comeback Moms