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Restarting Your Career: 8 Tips for Women Going Back to Work

Last Updated: 11/27/2022
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Whether you took time off to be a stay-at-home mom or you needed a break from the grind, restarting your career can be an exciting prospect. But, where should you begin? Once you’ve daydreamed about your ideal role and polished your resume, continue preparing for your soon-to-be career opportunity with these helpful tips.

An illustration of a mother looking for a remote job.

1. Find Remote Jobs

Returning to the workforce can be a big adjustment. One of the easier ways to transition is to find online jobs that allow you to work remotely. Remote jobs are great for stay-at-home moms.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may find many more remote job opportunities than you did in the past. You can also choose to work for a company as a salaried employee or look into self-employed job ideas for moms, which may include freelancing or starting your own business.

According to Thomas Mirmotahari, founder and CEO of the PerkUp app, you should find jobs you’re interested in and passionate about. “Let's learn important lessons from the Great Resignation and not take anything for granted,” he said. “Be happy with the choices you make by aligning everything you do with areas of high interest, then go out there and scan the work environment for opportunities.”

2. Sign Up for LinkedIn

Networking and having access to open roles and hiring companies is often the key to landing your next opportunity. In the digital arena, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network. The platform boasts 810 million members in more than 200 countries and territories around the world.

On the site, you can create (or edit) your profile, add your professional experience, find jobs and hit the “open to” button on your profile to show that you are available for jobs. You can connect with former colleagues and even contact recruiters and influencers in your industry. You can also add recommendations from former supervisors to your profile showcasing your work ethic and join LinkedIn Groups in your industry to connect to other professionals.

3. Reach Out to Former Colleagues

When it comes to finding new jobs, who you know can be essential. It’s a good idea to utilize all your resources when you’re returning to the workforce after a long break. Your personal connections can be an untapped pool when it comes to job hunting. You never know what leads and recommendations you’ll discover when you turn to your network — it’s easy to contact them via email or on LinkedIn.

SVP Human Resources at GoodHire Tina Hawk said, “It is worthwhile to reach out to former colleagues, managers and any contacts you may have lost touch with during your time away from work. Bringing your professional networks online again offers you much greater exposure to opportunity, either now or further down the road. On top of that, it can be a fantastic way to ease back into professional life, and speaking with former colleagues can also help to inspire and encourage us.”

4. Include Relevant Stay-at-Home Experience on Your Resume

If you took continuing education classes, volunteered for a local charity or did freelance work while you were at home, then feel free to highlight these on your resume. Otherwise, you can explain the gap in your career on your cover letter and that you’re excited to jump back into the workforce.

For stay-at-home moms, typically, it’s best to avoid listing your duties on your resume — unless they’re directly related to the jobs you’re applying for. For instance, if you’re going to be teaching children, working in a daycare, cleaning houses or cooking for a restaurant, then your experience at home could absolutely help you snag a job. However, if your career is not related to your stay-at-home work, then you could list anything else you did outside the home on your resume.

An illustration of a mother looking for new avenues to brush up on her education and skills.

5. Brush Up on Your Education and Skills

For women getting back to work, it’s important to keep your skills and education up to date, especially if you’re in a field that changes rapidly, such as technology. As the founder and CEO of his own coffee company, Majesty Coffee, Nunzio Ross said, “Carefully studying job descriptions and identifying possible requirement gaps that you may have is critical when re-entering the workforce. Online courses and workshops can help you upskill and reskill yourself with the right tools and knowledge.”

You can take classes in-person or online through your local university or community college, as well as find websites in your field that offer courses. For instance, if you’re in business and/or marketing, HubSpot offers free classes. You can also take advantage of Coursera, where you can build your skillset with courses from the top universities, as well as MasterClass, where you can learn skills from industry and financial influencers, including celebrities.

6. Perfect Your Body Language

Another critical tip for women returning back to work is to pay attention to your body language. If you’re interviewing on Zoom, and you’re going to be working remotely for the time being, you can show that you are confident and competent with the right body language. For instance, you should plant your feet firmly on the ground, avoid fidgeting, make eye contact and gesture with your palms up.

Jessica Robinson, content and marketing manager at The Speaking Polymath said that confident body language “boosts your overall confidence level. So, you should try to inculcate an influential body language and develop a power pose that works for you. For example, standing with arms wide open is a common power pose that works for many people. The moment you begin to feel that you are losing confidence, you can practice your power pose to regain it.”

7. Find the Right Health Insurance

Remember, your health is important. Consider looking into health care coverage for you and any family members. The average cost of health insurance depends on your age, family size, location and type of plan you need. For example, for one individual at the age of 40, the average health insurance cost per month is $477, or about $6,000 annually. As you plan and find the right health insurance, create a budget, so you are aware of the costs when you return to work.

Your future employer may offer medical benefits. Typically, companies will list the benefits they provide in the job listing. You can ask questions during your interview, especially if you can't find them.

There are also other ways to get health insurance. You can obtain insurance through Medicare or Medicaid or your state's health insurance marketplace if your employer doesn't offer it. You'll have to shop around for the right insurance. It's a good idea to gather a few quotes and compare them before making a final decision.

8. Don’t Forget the Work-Life Balance

Now that you’re ready to restart your career, you will need to assess how your new role will impact your current structure, having been away from work for some time. Ask yourself some questions to hone in on what you really want. Do you want to work part-time, remotely and conduct some travel? What hours work for your schedule and obligations? Do you need health benefits or a salary you’re willing to negotiate for? Identifying and determining your work-life balance is really important to set upfront.

Paola Accettola, principal and CEO of True North HR, said that right from the start, you need to establish clear boundaries. “This might mean communicating clear hard stops in the day so that it is possible to fulfill family duties as well. Asking for support from partners, co-parents, other family members or friends can be helpful while transitioning into a new role. Adding new responsibilities into a lifestyle is extremely taxing, so it is vital to find a good support system.”

An illustration of a woman searching and applying to jobs online.

Where and How to Find Jobs

Outside of your personal network and LinkedIn jobs, looking for your next opportunity can be an ongoing task. Researching companies you like, skimming search result listings, and writing cover letters is time-intensive. It may be good to approach the search as a job in itself — scheduling time blocks for applying to jobs, following up on leads and touching base with those you have recently interviewed with.

When researching jobs, you can find the best jobs for working remotely and for stay-at-home moms, as well as traditional jobs on sites such as:

Another option is to connect with staffing agencies and local recruiters in your area. Find ones for your industry, send them a copy of your resume and go on interviews until you find the right position.

It may take some time, but if you follow these tips, you can jump back into the workforce, snag the position of your dreams and be a Supermom all at the same time.

About the Author


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Kylie Ora Lobell is a freelance copywriter, editor, marketer, and publicist. She has over 10 years of experience writing in the personal finance, legal, and business space for publications and brands like Legal Management Magazine, LegalZoom, Forbes, EMC, IBM, Dell, Mastercard, Visa, and NCR. Her bylines include The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, New York Magazine, and Time Out NY/LA. Her website is KylieOraLobell.com.