So I have had an extremely interesting week – full of ‘information gathering’ events. Hence in this post, I thought it would be valuable to share some takeaways for those looking to reconnect and reenter the workforce. Incidentally, 1/3 of working women tend to take a career break according to a study done by Harvard Business Review and then later updated by the Hidden Brain Drain in 2009. If we think of high profile women that have taken time out of the work place….and returned after some time out…
- Meredith Vieira, quit “60 Minutes” and later took on Katie Couric’s old seat at NBC’s “Today” show after nine years on ABC’s “The View” .
- Annette Bening (who was later nominated for an oscar)
- Teri Hatcher (won a golden globe award)
- Nancy Pelosi (started her career while volunteering as a stay home mom)
- J.K Rowling (who was an unemployed single mom when she wrote the Harry Potter series during her child’s nap times)
- Calista Flockhart returned to network television after five years at home with her child
So on the issue of returning to work, i listened to a webinar by irelaunch. Please check out their website www.irelaunch.com, this organization is invaluable for anyone who has taken a career break and is looking to get back in the current economic environment. And if you are too tired, or can’t be bothered to read….check out this youtube video.
One of the most staggering statistics I heard today was the 37% pay cut that one should expect after having been out for more than 3-years. What’s most interesting about this statistic are the reasons behind it - namely reentrants taking entry level jobs in a new field or professionals returning to work in the same field and taking slightly lower level positions (as a result of their desire for flexibility or their need to get their feet wet again); or professionals taking a significant pay cut because of the family’s immediate financial need.
There was so much information that I cannot adequately cover it in one article so I am just going to summarize some main points:
1) Assess your career readiness (some people return to work after their kids are in preschool, or it could be college). There is a quizz on their website that you can work through
2) Identify some confidence building strategies
3) Assess your career options (how have your interests and skills changed since you left the workplace) Sometimes career breaks can be a blessing, since they force you to evaluate whether or not you were on the right career path
4) Update your job search skills (by returning to school or taking some classes at a community college if necessary) or volunteer strategically in areas that you would like to work in (check www.idealist.org). Be open to part time and project work too!
5) Network and market yourself (either through reconnecting with old co-workers, alumni, and friends). Don’t underestimate the importance of social media like twitter, and linked in. I think a particularly eye-opening point is to make sure that your linked in profile is 100% complete otherwise, it may either be skipped by recruiters or is pushed below all those resumes that are complete
6) Get your family’s support (they can also be a great sounding board for you when practising your 30 second elevator pitch on why you would like to return to work and what you want to do)
7) Find another job (even if its not financially what you wanted, many individuals report that they love their new working selves)
There are so many other support groups for parents looking to reenter the workforce. 3 sites I like are:
1) www.myworkbutterfly.com – you absolutely need to look at her videos of celebrity moms and peers for inspiration!
2) I also like the glass hammer (www.theglasshammer.com), which is great for executive women in business, law and finance.
3) and third, www.brazencareerist.com