How to Return to Work After a Career Break

Returning to work after a career break, whether because you have raised a family or through ill health, can be a daunting thought, no matter the length of time you have been out. Your professional persona can feel like a faded photograph, one where you can see the image but not the details. Where do you start on your journey back to the world of the nine-to-five?

When is the right time to return to work?

You may be waiting for the ideal time to return; however, there is rarely a 100% right time. You need to accept that your anxious thoughts about delaying a return to the workplace are more than likely fueled by a lack of confidence, rather than a lack of skill or the perfect timing. You need to work on your self-confidence before you start looking for job opportunities.

Know your industry

Since you’ve been away from your chosen industry for a while, you must get up to speed with any advances that have been made during your absence. Read trade magazines and journals, industry websites or even contact your old colleagues to fill the gaps for you. Don’t be afraid of attending networking events to make new contacts and extend your industry knowledge. You never know what may come from them!

You may be inspired and motivated to start your own business. After all, you are rejoining the community with fresh eyes and may be able to spot a gap in the market that you can exploit. Be open to opportunities that may arise, it may be something that you haven’t previously thought of, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have merit!

Know Your Value

Most returners to work undervalue their worth to employers, you are just grateful for a job, right? The problem with this is that you are more likely to accept a role that does not satisfy you. You will be earning money in a job, but you want a career, and the distinction between the two is vast. Jobs bring in money whereas careers develop you as well. You need to be happy in your role to ensure its longevity.

The inspiring infographic from Sage shows that women can be much harder on themselves and find it more difficult to recognize their outstanding achievements than their male counterparts. Devika Wood, founder and director of, says all women “must own your idea, commit to it and believe it,” and this advice is worthwhile noting when returning to work. By valuing and believing in yourself and what you can bring to any job role, you will not only find a position you love, but you also be commanding respect within the workplace.

Know your strengths

Print out a copy of your last cv and identify the skills and experiences that you have attained throughout your career. Highlight the parts of your previous roles that you liked and enjoyed doing. By doing this, it will help to focus your mind positively about your talents and skills.

Take time to recognize the skills that you have gained during your career break because many of them will be transferable to a business environment. For example, leadership, time management, and motivation are all key skills that are critical in the world of business.

Having a positive attitude will carry you through your return to work. You need to build your confidence and esteem so that you are resilient to rejection but also so that you make right choices. Never apologize for your career break. You don’t need to, and it will make you feel submissive. Remember, anyone returning to the workplace brings with them a wealth of knowledge and skills that, coupled with a different perspective on life, make a valued combination, in business and home alike.

Thanks to Zaklina

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