[19 May 2023]

The Big Leap Back Into Work

Caring for children.  Health issues.  Studying.  Travel.  There are many reasons why people may take a career break during their working life.  But it can be daunting trying to return to the workplace.

In this blog, we’ll explore some of the barriers people perceive as they return to work, and discuss how to overcome these.

I’ve lost my confidence

Being out of the workplace for a while means you can be nervous about reentering the world of employment.  It’s important to focus on what you want, and what you can offer.  Really think about whether you want to go back to a role you’re experienced in, or if you’d prefer to take another path into an exciting new career.  You may want to consider speaking to career advisors or people you know in your chosen industry to make sure your CV is the best it can be, and that you’re fully prepared for the challenge ahead.  Your support network around you, such as family and friends, can be important at this time – they have loads of confidence in you, so all you need to do is believe them and see yourself as others see you.  Also, volunteering can help give you confidence in your skills, before returning to paid employment.

I’m out of touch with my industry

Time marches on inexorably, and during your period out of the workplace, technologies, processes, and skills will have moved on.  Make sure you stay in touch with what’s happening by joining professional groups, reading industry newsletters, doing training and courses and speaking to former colleagues.  All these things can get you up to speed with what’s going on in your field, and help you see how the job you used to do may have changed – and will get you excited about new opportunities that may have opened up for you.

I’ve got no skills

If you’ve spent time out of the workplace after having children, you may feel you’ve lost your career skills.  But you haven’t lost skills, you’ve gained them!  You’ve learned responsibility as a parent, may have volunteered in various capacities, and have definitely learned a whole raft of transferable skills such as patience, reliability, time management, dealing with difficult people and the ability to multi-task.  During your time away from work, you haven’t stopped growing and developing, and it’s important to acknowledge that.

I can’t commit to full time work

In this post-pandemic world, so many jobs are now no longer the traditional office 9-5.  Flexible working, part time or compressed hours and working from home can make it easier to return to the workplace, and most employers realise that providing flexibility to their staff makes them more attractive to job hunters.

I’m different from everyone else

Research has found that nearly a third of the working age population has taken some form of break during their career.  So being out of the workplace for some time isn’t unusual, and it’s likely that many of your potential new employers have taken a career break themselves, or will in future.  So concentrate on the benefits that your career break has brought you, and walk into your new career full of confidence, because you are exactly what your prospective new employer is looking for!


Are you interested in finding out more about how to return to work?  Join us at our conference The Art of the Possible on Tuesday 6 June 2023 at the Aura Innovation Centre in Hessle, as we discuss issues that women face in the workplace.  We’ll tackle imposter syndrome, everyday sexism, and explore different perspectives on how we can create a more equal, diverse and inclusive workforce.