How to Prepare for a Career Break Like a Pro: 5 Tips to Set Yourself Up for Success
Inside: Taking a career break? Whether your break is by choice or by circumstance there are ways you can prepare and set yourself up for success. Tips to make the transition from working mom to stay-at-home mom or get ready for a career pivot.
It’s no secret that 2020 has taken it’s toll on working moms.
Moms took on the bulk of childcare during quarantine, even when both parents were working full-time, which meant work productivity took a big hit. Also, millions of jobs were lost due to businesses closing their doors and a recession taking hold. 60% of those jobs were held by women.
Plus, parents everywhere have been faced with hard choices about childcare and school this past spring and upcoming fall. Should one adult in the household leave their job to make this all work? If it comes down to it, the parent stepping out of the workforce is most commonly mom.
For some, taking a career break is an easy choice. For others, this is really hard stuff.
5 Tips to Prepare for a Career Break
Should employers be flexible and creative to support working parents during the pandemic of 2020? Absolutely! Are there flexible jobs out there I can point you to if you want to keep working with your kids at home? Sure thing!
But the fact of the matter is, if you’ve lost a job or you’re stepping back from your career and into a new role as teacher and full-time caregiver, then you need support right where you are in this moment!
So, for moms preparing for a career break, or anyone stepping away with plans to return to the workforce, check out these tips below. Take control of what you can today and position yourself well for what may come down the road in the future.
Update Your Resume
First things first, take the time to update your resume right now before you forget!
You likely haven’t updated your resume in a hot second or two if you’ve been in the same role or company for a while. That means it’s missing all of the awesome you’ve been working on recently, and when it comes time to apply to a new job, you might forget the details.
Pull out your existing resume to add in your most recent positions, including key accomplishments, and you’ll be thanking me later! If you need a new resume template or some help thinking about how to update your resume, I’ve got you covered!
Track Your Accomplishments
Speaking of all the great things you’re going to be adding to your resume, you’re going to be doing a lot of great things during your career break too!
For example, you may be spending time homeschooling, volunteering in your community, or taking on freelance work. All of those things, whether paid or not, are helping you develop and hone skills that will be valuable in your future job search.
To keep track of your activities during this time, create an accomplishment tracker like the one below. It breaks down all the cool stuff you’re doing into projects, problems you helped solve, actions you took, and the results of your work. It also includes a column to write down the skills you used while working on these projects. Refer back to this when you’re getting ready to update your resume again or interview.
Connect on LinkedIn
When you’re getting ready to leave a job for a career break, make sure you take the time to connect with your co-workers, past and present, on LinkedIn.
Relationships matter in your career, and like other social media platforms, LinkedIn helps you stay up to date with your contacts. Check-in on LinkedIn from time to time, just like you would with Instagram or Facebook, and see what your connections are up to. Comment on posts of interest to you, congratulate connections on promotions or new jobs, share articles related to your field. In other words – stay active with your network!
Another nice touch? In some circumstances, a nice “goodbye and thank you” post on LinkedIn letting your network know what you’ve learned in your recent work and what you hope to take with you going forward can be a good move. If you’re leaving on difficult terms, perhaps this isn’t the best way to go, but if you’ve had a positive experience and can share this in a good light, go for it!
You know all those Buzzfeed quizzes you take to see what type of Girl Scount Cookie you are based on your personality? No? Just me? (I’m a Caramel deLite.)
Pretty amazing that you had time for those quizzes while working full time, right? Your plate was quite full, but you still found a few minutes to get to know yourself a little better by way of online quiz. Did you know you can do the same thing but with some free personality tests that tell you about your career?
When you’re preparing for a career break, check out these free personality tests that each take less than 15 minutes to complete. You’ll learn a lot about yourself, your skills, your strengths, and what might be holding you back. All that information can help you think about your next steps for the immediate future and beyond.
You can also take all of this information about yourself to a career coaching session when you’re ready to jump back in!
Celebrate? That’s a weird one, Becca… But hang in there with me!
If you’ve been wanting to take a career break in order to spend more time with your kids or focus on pivoting in your career, then check you out! You’re doing it!
Maybe this isn’t exactly how you pictured this break happening, especially if your hand was forced by a job loss or unexpected childcare needs. But still, you’re here, you’re doing it! Celebrate that win!
Or perhaps as you head into this break you have an idea for a business that you’ve never been able to pursue before or dreams of pivoting into a different industry but you haven’t had time to think about it. Perhaps now is the time to take a real pause and figure out what your next steps could be.
Now, I know that you aren’t going to be swimming in time if you’re taking a break from your career for childcare or homeschool. But without an additional full-time job on your plate, your mental capacity for thinking through all the things you want to do and accomplish next in your life is freed up. That’s cause for celebration too!
Remember to focus on what success looks like to you, not Nancy down the street, not your great Aunt Lottie. Then remember all the greatness that is coming along with your career break, and all the greatness you are bringing to every area of your life, and lift a glass to the awesomeness that is YOU! That kind of confidence is going to take you so far.
Make the Most of Your Career Break
I’m a big proponent of making your career a meaningful and fulfilling part of your life, but it’s not your whole life. To paraphrase the great Moira Rose of Schitt’s Creek fame, taking a break from your career is “an exciting new chapter in the audio book of your life.”
Enjoy this time, embrace this time, and know that when you’re ready to jump to the next chapter we’ll all be excited to read it!
Download Your Free Resume Template
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