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Mind the Gap…

When women decide to take a career break, it can be hard to get back into the saddle. 

Women usually take a break from their careers because of personal reasons like: starting a family; attending to a loved one either in old age or sickness; getting married or relocating. They rarely think of how this can impact their future chances of getting back into the ‘working saddle’, so to speak. Such a break can set you back years and can affect your professional skills. That blank space on your CV is also enough for a recruiter to push your CV aside with the impression that you don’t have current work experience or relevant trending skills. 

Women often forget to plan for such a decision and during the ‘break’ they might end up losing their own identity. When you don’t know who you are anymore, your self-esteem takes a real beating. Most women want to get back to work again even though it might not be exactly in the same job field. Things like flexibility and a less stressful or demanding job is usually some of the criteria women going back to work are looking for. 

Don’t be misinformed. Going back is challenging and hard. However, women can make it easier for themselves by:

  1. Being realistic and understanding the challenges, but that persistence is key. 
  2. Building your self-confidence.
  3. Continuously sharpening up your skills and learning new ones.
  4. Being open to change. Accept that the working environment has changed over the years and you might need to start from the bottom.
  5. Considering freelancing and volunteering before you expect to get paid.
  6. Constantly motivating yourself and to try and stay inspired.
  7. Planning ahead for when you want to go back to work and making sure that you keep yourself updated during your ‘break’.

If you are considering taking a career break, be mindful of keeping with your profession’s trends and skills development. Never take yourself out of the market totally. Rather opt for consulting work or freelance work. Keep in touch with your colleagues. Some employers are very flexible and lenient and sometimes all that is needed is to communicate your needs to your manager.