Tips for getting back into the workplace after a career break – from the women who have done it…

09 August 2016

Women who have taken part in PwC’s Back to Business return to work programme share their views on how to successfully get back into the workplace following a career break.

  1. Don’t lose hope. Trying to get back into the workplace after a career break can be a daunting task and you will often be told by recruiters that employers will be put off by the gap on your CV. This is not always the case. Many organisations are waking up to the fact that they are losing too many talented women and are keen to get experienced women back into the workplace. Look for employers that value difference and value any complementary work you did during your career break, whether that is volunteering, studying, freelancing, etc.
  2. Be open-minded. You might have years of experience in a certain sector, but it helps to be open to opportunities outside your area of expertise if presented with them. Think of return to work programmes as a great opportunity to learn new skills and expand your CV. At this stage in your career, the opportunity to learn something new can be scary but it is also really reinvigorating. Bringing your experience to a different area will bring new ideas and enthusiasm which many organisations will see as a huge advantage.
  3. Network, network, network. Catch up with old colleagues and friends. Attend conferences and events. Use social media to build and refresh contacts and keep up to date with industry news. Not only will this be helpful research and provide great talking points for your interview, it will get you back into the swing of relationship building. And you never know, the people you meet through your networks could provide useful business leads further down the line.
  4. Have confidence in the skills you can bring. Recruiters and employers can too often assume that people haven’t developed during their career break, but the different learning experiences during this time are just as important as those that you developed in the workplace.  Don’t shy away from highlighting these. Think about what you did during your career break and how those skills are transferrable – be it school committee chair, coordinating school governors, holding charity events, starting an online group, etc. – these all reflect the softer skills that are paramount in any role and especially in more senior roles. Show that you understand how the business world has changed and how your skills are adaptable. Skills such as relationship building, managing multiple-stakeholders, working to tight deadlines, networking, etc. will always be relevant.
  5. Go for it. You may get some knock-backs along the way but don’t let this dent your confidence. Businesses are realising that they need to think differently when it comes to recruitment and return to work programmes are becoming increasingly prevalent across different sectors. The fact PwC is extending its Back to Business programme tenfold demonstrates how they are a win-win for all involved. If you are still thinking about whether to apply for a return to work programme our advice is ‘go for it’. You have nothing to lose and a lot to gain. It’s a great way to get back into work and the opportunity to try something new along the way.

If you would like to find out more about PwC's Back to Business programme, or apply, please visit: https://www.pwc.co.uk/careers/experienced/jobs/back-to-business.html

View Laura Hinton’s profile on LinkedIn

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