More than 40% of women interrupt their professional careers for family or other reasons. Getting back into the workforce after a hiatus isn’t always easy, but Carol Fishman Cohen, co-founder of iRelaunch, tells Shawna Ohm of CNN that “it’s easier than it was maybe 10 years ago.”

Cohen offers women these five tips for successfully reentering the corporate world:

1. Figure out what you want to do. Your skills and interests may have shifted while you were away. Don’t just retrace career steps: take stock of who you are and what you want. Check with your college:  It may offer alumnae career assessments.

2. Reconnect with people from the past. Afraid everyone will have forgotten you? Don’t be, says Cohen. If you remember them, they’re likely to remember you, too. Reach out.

3. Use social media to research potential employers. Mention what you learn in interviews: It’s good to show you’re adept at social media.

4. Update your skills. That may mean refresher courses in some professions, but in others bringing yourself up-to-date on current issues via trade magazines can be a good solution. Ask former colleagues what has changed.

5. Internships aren’t just for college students. If you are returning after a significant amount of time, Cohen suggests proposing an internship-like contract that les you work on a specific project or for a set amount of time before you’re evaluated.

If you’ve resumed a career after taking time away, share what you learned from the experience at Join the conversation.

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2 Responses

  1. Ann

    I just returned to the workforce part-time after taking 6 years off to be at home with my young children. I agree with all of the tips above, plus here are a few additional tips from my perspective:

    1) Leverage the skills you gained while out of the workforce – being at home and juggling the needs and activities of 3 young children definitely honed my time management and multi-tasking skills.

    2) Volunteer – not working professionally but having some flexibility with my schedule allowed me to participate in several key volunteer roles – I gained valuable new skills and made important connections.

    4) Cultivate professional relationships with younger women and men in your profession – I found these relationships to be very educational and valuable for us both, and many of these people who were once subordinates are now in hiring positions or have a much wider circle of influence in the workplace.

  2. Julia

    There is no getting around the age barrier. Sorry about that. Does not matter how good your credentials are or why you were forced to step back for a while; if you are over 55, it’s just OVER. You will never work again.


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