We encourage our members to always keep working at least to some level and to never fully step out. Our members typically cannot leave the workforce for more than 2 years as we want to ensure your skills stay sharp. Please stay in touch! In the meantime, here are some tips on re-entering the workforce and sites for you to check out:
- “My children are in school full-time and don’t need me at home anymore.”
- “I miss being creative, being part of a team.”
- “My husband and I are getting divorced and I have to be able to support myself.”
These are just a few of the scenarios we hear every day from women looking to re-rejoin the workforce after an extended hiatus. These are talented women with truly impressive resumes, once-professional women who we easily can imagine will go on to exciting next chapters in their careers. And, yet, when these women apply to join The Second Shift, we cannot accept them if they’ve been out of the workforce for more than two years. Put simply, ours is not the re-engagement business; and when it comes to competing for a coveted job post, desire and dedication are only part of the calculus. A bitter pill to swallow? It needn’t be. Small steps can quickly beget big changes; time and again, we’ve seen women do far more than pick up where they left off. We’ve seen them reinvent themselves. While the journey looks different for everyone, the most successful passages share certain signposts. Our advice? Chart your course accordingly — and come back to us. We’ll be waiting!
1. Take an inventory: You know you want to return to work, but do you know why? Are you looking for creative fulfillment? Do you need an income again? How much work do you want and how much do you want to work? Have your interests changed in the intervening time away? Get very clear on what you are striving towards, not just in terms of a professional goal, but on a personal level as well. Figure out what is feasible, exciting, and makes sense based on your experience and availability. If need be, hire a career coach to lead you through this process. (We’re happy to make referrals at firstname.lastname@example.org)
2. Hit the refresh button: Spruce up your resume. Update your Linked In profile. Take courses that apply to your field. Learn everything you can about your industry — as it now exists. Practice your pitch and craft a coherent and compelling narrative to account for your career gap. There are experts who can help you with telling your story, like Second Shift member Katie Fogarty. http://www.katiefogartyreboot.com/
3. Network: Put out your desire to work to everyone you can: friends, ex-colleagues, alumni networks. Take on any relevant projects, even if they’re unpaid at first. No one need know that you did them for free and it puts present-day experience on your C.V.
4. Set up your life: New opportunities also create new demands so make sure you have the necessary infrastructure in place to accept work as it comes to you. The ability to dive in immediately is critical. Ask yourself: Do you have adequate childcare in place? A proper environment to work in? Focus requires time and space — set up your life accordingly.
Remember, working takes practice, but it’s muscle memory. Stepping away from the game is not the same as stepping out of the game. Be confident in your abilities — including whatever newfound perspectives and strengths the time off has afforded you. And look toward the future with optimism.
Here are just a few places to look for re-entry programs and flexible/ project based work.